Despite a disappointing quarter in which it lost nearly 13,000 broadband subscribers, Altice USA claims that it continues to make steady progress in signing up customers for its "1 Gig Internet" service.
Indeed, the subscriber gains do look pretty impressive. The US cable provider reported in its Q3 earnings release late last week that 13.3% of all its broadband subscribers now take 1 Gig service. Also, Altice USA reported that 46% of its new broadband subscribers signed up for 1 Gig service in the summer quarter, up from 29% a year earlier.
So let's do a little math here. Given that the MSO has nearly 4.4 million data subscribers, the 13.3% penetration rate means that they now have nearly 580,000 1 Gig Internet customers. That's a high number.
On Altice USA's earnings call last week, CEO Dexter Goei said gigabit (downstream) speeds are technically now available to 92% of the operator's 9.2 million-home footprint, or more than 8 million households, including both fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) and hybrid fiber-coax (HFC) homes. He also noted that the operator is still only marketing the service to about 50% of its customer base so far as it continues to ramp up its sales efforts.
Altice USA also reported that it's offering 1 Gig service to the 1.26 million homes it now passes with FTTP lines. Some 4.7% of those 1.26 million homes passed by FTTP have actually become fiber customers, up from 1.8% a year earlier. That means that it has slightly under 60,000 1 Gig subscribers on fiber, with the rest on HFC.
In addition, the MSO is now offering gigabit service in most of its HFC footprint throughout the US, thanks to its network upgrade to the DOCSIS 3.1 spec in those areas. The service is only not available in some former Suddenlink areas outside the Northeast.
If Altice USA can keep up its 46% pace of signing up new broadband subs for 1 Gig Internet service, its numbers will go up even more sharply. That will be a key metric to track, especially if the operator sticks to its revised growth strategy of passing at least 3 million more homes with FTTP lines by the end of 2023.
In another key metric to watch, Altice USA reported that the average download speed taken by its broadband customer base has nearly doubled in the past three years to 337 Mbit/s at the end of Q3. The company also noted the "approximately 50% of our broadband customers remain on plans with download speeds of 200 Mbit/s or less, representing a sizable opportunity to continue to upgrade speeds."
— Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading
[Ed.note: We corrected this story on 11/9 to reflect more accurately reported subscriber numbers and a clearer picture of Altice USA's gigabit progress.]