Comcast is competing ‘really well’ in broadband: CEO

Comcast has continued to shed broadband subscribers, despite domestic broadband revenue being a bright spot in Q2 earnings. CEO Brian Roberts on Wednesday assured investors Comcast remains a competitive force in the market.

“We’re in a competitive business and I think our team is competing really well,” he said at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia + Technology Conference. Roberts noted average revenue per user (ARPU) for broadband grew “four and a half percent” in the first half of 2023, with Comcast’s “historical rate range” falling between “three to four [percent].”

As to what’s driving Comcast’s broadband growth, Roberts pointed to an influx of broadband usage, which “almost doubled” in the last couple of years. The average non-linear video customer uses 700 gigabits of data per month, he said.

And in the last four years, the company has seen "13 times more attached devices to Wi-Fi than we did in 2018…and we’ve got a billion devices attached in our homes.”

Roberts added he thinks broadband will “reinvent itself” as people become more user-dependent on it, and that will happen “before we even get to things like AI creating more volume through the system, or things like augmented reality or health care in the home.”

DOCSIS 4.0 is one element of that growth. Comcast in June kicked off the industry’s first field trials of low-latency DOCSIS, which it expects to launch in the market by the end of this year.

Shortly after announcing those trials, Comcast said it deployed over 100,000 Remote-PHY digital nodes across its network.

“[DOCSIS 4.0] is going to get us up to 10 gigabits bidirectional, unprecedented capability. It’s anybody’s guess whether we need it all,” Roberts said. “But I think most of us in this room are going to absolutely want it.”

Asked how Comcast is thinking about long-term growth opportunity in its business services segment – a “$9 billion annualized revenue business” – Roberts stated the company is “very committed” to invest behind that growth.

“We’ve reached a certain level in the small businesses, but [with] medium and enterprise customers and international customers, we’ve made an acquisition with Masergy that has been integrated extremely well,” he said.

“I think that’s probably what you’d be looking for us is, can we add capabilities? Can we add scale and growth to our story?”