Cincinnati Bell plans to pass 70K homes with fiber this year

Cincinnati Bell might start slowing down its FTTH rollout in 2017, but this year the telco is moving full steam ahead with plans to pass over 70,000 homes.

Speaking to investors during the 2016 Morgan Stanley Technology, Media And Telecom Conference, Tom Simpson, CTO of Cincinnati Bell, confirmed that the service provider is on track to install fiber near more of the homes in its serving area.

"There are always ways to push fiber out further," Simpson said. "What you'll see this year is we have 70,000-plus homes that we plan on passing this year and going into years beyond it will continue to be success-based."

The telco has continued to make progress with its FTTH build. Simpson said that "the mix of homes has changed with roughly 95 percent being fiber-based."

Being a traditional ILEC, Cincinnati Bell still has a sizeable copper network it could also use to deliver higher speeds via VDSL2 and emerging technologies.

While those technologies do offer some near-term advantages in allowing service providers to reduce capital by using existing copper, rolling out fiber allows Cincinnati Bell to scale bandwidth increments faster.

"It's longevity of the product and when you look at the build costs of doing fiber to the node or bonding or, which still needs time to mature, you can offer the median take rate of 30 Mbps," Simpson said. "With the fiber-based assets as we react to competition, we're able to scale that customer base from 30 Mbps to 50 Mbps or 100 Mbps with little to no incremental cost."

Perhaps not surprisingly, Cincinnati Bell's FTTH Fioptics broadband network has plenty of longevity to satisfy consumers' appetite for over the top video content.

In tandem with rolling out FTTH, the service provider has made an effort to keep content on net, allowing it further control costs while supporting higher speed content.

"When you look at the distribution of our network and how we carry Internet for over the top, 34 percent of our high speed Internet content is Netflix and that's on our network with caches," Simpson said. "Another 26 percent is Google and Akamai, which leaves very little for us to transit outside of the city and carry into paid pure transit."

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