Cable may be eating into the telco's broadband voice lunch, but those trends don't seem to be having much of an effect on rural ILEC Consolidated Communications. What boosted Consolidated's performance in the third-quarter was a high amount of new DSL, IPTV, and VoIP subscriptions.
As reported in FierceTelecom's sister publication FierceIPTV, IPTV was the star in Consolidated's product portfolio. In the third-quarter, the rural ILEC added 1,800 new customers, bringing it to a total of 21,500 subscribers. The ILEC's IPTV subscriber take rate has increased by almost 40 percent over the past year. But guess what--Consolidated's IPTV expansion to an additional 18,000 homes did not require a major fiber investment as its delivering the service via pair bonding and other methods that expand the rate and reach of its existing copper network.
In addition to IPTV, Consolidated's voice line loss was down only 1.7 percent in the third quarter. Interestingly, this is the lowest number of lost lines it has incurred since cable started to encroach into its Illinois, Texas and Pennsylvania territories five years ago.
Another weapon that Consolidated has in its holster to challenge cable is a dual play bundle of DSL and voice. The service provider has launched an aggressive marketing campaign to entice its standalone DSL subscribers to add traditional voice and VoIP to their bundle. During the third quarter, Consolidated added about 700 new VoIP lines, bringing it to a total of 8600.
Still, Bob Currey, Consolidated's CEO thinks it's a bit premature to say they have completely beat out cable, but he said in an earnings call that the third-quarter numbers are encouraging.
"I don't think the competitive market has abated," he said. "It's a war out there. I'm not ready to declare victory. That said, we think we've got the right product set; IPTV really pulls through broadband [orders]. The numbers are not big enough yet to have a party with, but we're starting to see port-ins come back the other way from our cable competitors."
Consolidated IPTV subs surge
Frontier to buy Verizon rural lines for $5.25B
ComScore: Rural broadband penetration rate growing