Bell Aliant (Toronto: BA-UN.TO) Q3: Line loss drives down revenues, while broadband subscribership rose

Bell Aliant (Toronto: BA-UN.TO) faced the typical wireline POTS declines, a factor that attributed to a 3.1 percent decline in its Q3 2010 revenue to $762 million.

Similarly, Bell Aliant's operating income also declined 2 percent to $195 million, a factor it attributes to lower revenues that were partly offset by opex reductions.

Here's a breakdown of other key metrics:

  • Local Voice Services: As seen with its parent company Bell Canada, Bell Aliant's local voice revenue declined $17 million, or 4.8 percent, in comparison to Q3 2009 due to Network Access Service (NAS) declines and $5 million decrease in competitor contribution subsidies. One factor that did help slow down Bell Aliant's NAS loss in Q3 was a marginal increase of cable telephony in its serving territories.
  • Long Distance: Similar to Q2 2010, Bell Aliant's long distance revenue declined $9 million, or 7.9 percent, a factor it attributes to NAS declines and ongoing migration to bundle and flat rate long distance plans.
  • Internet Services: While voice revenue declined, Internet revenue was another story. Fueled by a 5.2 percent increase in broadband subscribers and Bell Aliant TV subscriber growth, Internet service revenue grew $7 million, or 6 percent. At the same time, residential average revenue per customer (ARPC) also increased 5.1 percent over Q3 2009 as a result of aggressive pricing campaigns and customer migration to higher value services like video and high speed data.

"Our third quarter results are consistent with our experience in the first half of 2010, with improving NAS trends," said Karen Sheriff, president and chief executive officer, adding that "I am very pleased with our expanding FibreOP service and the strong bundle adoption we are experiencing as we work toward our goal of providing all communications services to our customers' homes and businesses."

But while it saw inevitable POTS voice line losses, the service provider continues to remain on the future potential of its Fiber to the Home (FTTH) initiative.

During the third quarter, Bell Aliant not only expanded the availability of its FibreOP service into the cities of Fredericton, Saint John, Moncton, New Brunswick and Sydney, Nova Scotia, but it also launched a 170/30 Mbps speed tier. In total, Bell Aliant now passes over 106,000 homes with FTTH and is on track to pass over 140,000 homes and businesses by the end of this year.

For more:
- see the earnings release

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