BBWN Bites: Casa Gets Downgraded
Also today, Vodafone deposits big check, Openreach joins in UK's fiber free-for-all, Ulta DTH chooses Eutelsat Americas, Indiana coop aids rural hospital and equity firm sees profits ahead from purchase of two more rural broadband providers.
A week after a class-action seeking law firm publicized a request for investors who lost money on Casa Systems' IPO, a Raymond James analyst downgraded its rating on the vendor to "Underperform" from "Market Perform," and shares tumbled 7% Tuesday. Competitor Harmonic has a long-term deal with Comcast and, analyst Simon Leopold believes, with Casa customer Liberty Global. Both the potential suit and downgrade center on investor concerns that demand for network virtualization and software threaten Casa's core cable business. (For detailed analysis, please read: Casa Hit by Downgrade as Virtualization Threatens Its Core Cable Biz.)
Vodafone amassed NZ$3.4 billion ($2.3 billion) after finalizing the sale of its New Zealand business to a consortium consisting of infrastructure-investment firm Infratil and Brookfield Asset Management. Under terms of the acquisition, announced May 2018, the new owners will continue using the Vodafone name; while Vodafone will use these funds to help offset its recent spending on 5G and Liberty Global's European cable assets.
UK's Openreach today announced it will build all-fiber networks in 36 new locations and has hired 2,600 of the 3,000 planned trainee technicians for 2019. The wholesale division of BT expects to reach 4 million premises by 2021, potentially covering 15 million by 2025 depending on the financial climate.
Ultra DTH of San Juan, Puerto Rico, inked an unquantified multi-year, multi-transponder deal with satellite provider Eutelsat Americas, a subsidiary of Paris-based Eutelsat Communications. The direct-to-home (DTH) operator bought capacity on the Eutelsat 65 West A satellite so it can launch a white-label DTH platform to millions of households in Caribbean and Andes regions. Partner United Territories will provide aggregation, encoding and ground infrastructure. (See Spain's Euskaltel Unveils Expansion Plans.)
Indiana coop NineStar Connect plans to pass along about $2.3 million of USDA's Rural Economic Development grants and loans to help a rural hospital. With the monies, Hancock Health will build an urgent care and diagnostic center, buy diagnostic equipment and connect to NineStar's fiber network, National Rural Cooperative Association reported today.
Equity firm GTCR, which forged management partnership Mega Broadband Investments in October 2017, signed definitive agreements on Tuesday to acquire the broadband assets of Eagle Communications of Hays, Kan., and Vyve Broadband of Shawnee, Okla. MBI and GTCR formed Rural Broadband Investments 2012. Like RBI, MBI wants to buy rural broadband assets as "part of a strategy to capitalize" on investments in bringing broadband, voice and TV services to rural residential and business customers.
Follow the Money
Investment and acquisitions led today's broadband news.
— Alison Diana, Editor, Broadband World News. Follow us on Twitter or @alisoncdiana.
Here's where you can find episode links for 'The Divide,' Light Reading's podcast series featuring conversations with broadband providers and policymakers working to close the digital divide.
As we have for the past two years, Light Reading will present our Cable Next-Gen Europe conference as a free digital symposium on June 21.
Charter has sparked RDOF work in all 24 states where it won bids. The cable op booked about $19 million in RDOF revenues in Q1, and expects to have about $9 million per month come in over the next ten years.
As we have for the past two years, Light Reading will stage the Cable Next-Gen Technologies & Strategies conference as a free digital event over two half-days in mid-March.
Launch of 2-Gig and 5-Gig FTTP tiers in 70-plus markets puts more pressure on cable ops to enhance their existing DOCSIS 3.1 network or accelerate their upgrade activity centered on the new DOCSIS 4.0 specs.