Consolidated's Udell: Over 50% of our customers can get 100 Mbps broadband speeds

Consolidated Communications may be an advocate of fiber-based 1 Gbps broadband, but in the near-term it continues to see rapid subscriber uptake for existing speed tiers, particularly 100 Mbps.

Speaking during the second-quarter 2015 earnings call, Bob Udell, CEO of Consolidated said that it continues to expand its range of broadband service tiers.  

"On the consumer side we continue to increase broadband speed offerings where 50 percent of our marketable homes can now deliver 100 Mbps or more and we can deliver 1 Gbps to portions of all of our major markets," Udell said.

Udell added the amount of consumers that can get "20 Mbps or more have increased from 9 percent last year in the second quarter to 22 percent this year.

During the quarter, Consolidated added 2,300 new net consumer broadband subscribers. Consumer broadband revenue was $54 million up from $53.8 million in the same period a year ago.

The company is also seeing progress in selling data services to more business and wholesale customers as it expanded its fiber network to more buildings and wireless towers. During the quarter, it added 224 route fiber miles and 36 new on-net fiber buildings.

This bet on fiber expansion paid off during the second quarter as it won Ethernet over fiber contracts in key verticals like health care and education and a number of new wireless backhaul contracts.  

Commercial and carrier customer revenues were $74.1 million, up 2.6 percent year-over-year.

On the wireless backhaul side, Consolidated signed deals to equip 45 towers with fiber, bringing its total to 1,124 towers under contract.

"Approximately two-thirds of its capital investments are success-based growth projects and the sales initiatives in the first half of this year have produced the highest demand we have experienced," Udell. "These include wins for wireless backhaul projects and in the vertical markets specific to health care and education."

The telco won Ethernet over fiber deals with a multi-facility health care provider in Illinois and a school district in California, for example.

Udell said "these successes reflect our continued focus on making disciplined investments with good returns and all of our fiber-based investments position us well for the future."

On the wireless backhaul side, it added 45 new towers to end the period with a total of 1,124 total towers on its fiber network.

Overall second-quarter revenues were $201 million, up slightly from $200.8 million in the second quarter of 2014. The company said that solid growth in strategic sales channels were offset by declines in consumer voice and network access revenues. Excluding a $1.9 million increase in equipment sales and service, revenues declined by $1.6 million.

Shares of Consolidated were listed at $19.60, down 2 cents, or 0.1 percent in Friday morning trading on the Nasdaq stock exchange.

For more:
- see the earnings release
- listen to the earnings call

Special report: Wireline telecom earnings in the second quarter of 2015

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