Bell Canada's Fibe TV footprint reaches 4.6M households, but cable competition narrows sub increase

Bell Canada, an operating subsidiary of BCE Inc., reported that its Bell Fibe TV subscriber base totaled 580,643 at the end of the second quarter, up 67.7 percent from the same period a year ago.

Although its total IPTV subscriber base rose, the telco only added 46,533 net new customers in the second quarter compared to 50,555 last year. Bell's Fibe TV footprint passed more than 4.6 million households at the end of the second quarter, up from 3.8 million last year.

Bell said the decrease reflects "aggressive offers and service bundle promotions from cable competitors and less footprint expansion compared to the same quarter last year."

The telco fared better in the broadband data arena, adding 3,638 new subscribers, up from 2,446 last year. It attributes the rise in broadband subscribers to lower residential customer churn attributable to a high Fibe TV attach rate and higher speeds enabled by Bell's broadband fiber network. Overall, Bell's high-speed Internet subscriber base increased 3.3 percent over last year to 2,203,808.

It also took the No. 1 ranking for Canadian providers on Netflix's (NASDAQ: NFLX) global index for online data speeds, beating out 14 Canadian Internet service providers tested each month in the second quarter of 2014.

Driven by strong residential services growth and a 3.4 percent increase in IP connectivity revenues in its business services segment, Bell's overall wireline data revenues rose 2 percent to $1.4 billion. Residential data services revenue grew 6.1 percent in the second quarter, reflecting higher Internet and TV revenues driven by continued Fibe customer growth and greater demand for higher bandwidth Internet service.

"The fast-growing Fibe TV and Internet footprint is propelling consistent revenue growth in wireline residential services," George Cope, president and CEO of BCE and Bell Canada, in the earnings release.

Bell's operating revenue was $4.2 billion, up 5.1 percent sequentially from $4.1 billion in the first quarter.

Shares of BCE were listed at $43.88, down 58 cents or 1.29 percent, on the Nasdaq stock exchange.

For more:
- see the earnings release

Special report: Wireline telecom earnings in the second quarter of 2014

Related articles:
Bell Canada acquires customer centers in New Brunswick to support growing broadband base
BCE takes Bell Aliant subsidiary private, plans to continue fiber-based broadband push
Bell Aliant to extend fiber-based broadband service to 125,000 Quebec premises
Bell Canada amplifies in-home Wi-Fi speeds with 802.11ac router