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Cablevision Capitulates on New Customer Promos; Verizon FiOS’ Price Slashing Really Hurt

Phillip Dampier February 28, 2012 Broadband Speed, Cablevision, Competition, Consumer News No Comments

The cable company best known for serving suburban New York City.

Cablevision Industries has cried “uncle” in light of relentlessly aggressive competition from Verizon Communications, which offers its fiber to the home FiOS service in much of the cable operator’s service area.

Cablevision’s 4th quarter and year-end financial results, reported earlier today, are underwhelming investors.  Cablevision executives warned the company will have lower cash flow in 2012 due to increased investments in set-top boxes, network upgrades, and more importantly — no planned subscriber rate increases this year.

Some highlights:

Video – Losing Customers Like Everyone Else: Cablevision lost 14,000 video customers in the last quarter, many to Verizon FiOS and ongoing cord-cutting.  Analysts expected just 9,000 defections.  Cablevision will soon launch both HBO and Max Go online video for their customers nationwide.  Additional on-demand video options, online and off, are also anticipated.

Broadband – Cablevision finally admitted its own network was responsible for last year’s faltering broadband speeds that delivered poor marks in ongoing FCC speed tests.  The company originally denied the speed test results were accurate.  Today CEO James Dolan told investors the company invested in its broadband network to improve speeds and service.  Cablevision feels strongly it must compete effectively with Verizon to survive.  The company added 20,000 high-speed data customers and 31,000 phone subscribers in the quarter.  The company is doing well allowing customers easy access to broadband speed upgrades.

Wi-Fi – Cablevision sees strong value in its wireless broadband network as customers increasingly take their content mobile and need connectivity to the web.

Upgrades – CEO Jim Dolan said 2012 will be “a year of investment” in Cablevision upgrades and improvements.  The company is even accelerating projects originally envisioned for 2013.  Cablevision will continue to expand its “next day” installation offer across the eastern United States by the end of the first quarter.

Promotions – The escalating war of promotions between Verizon and Cablevision are likely to cease as Cablevision yanks their most aggressive new customer offers.  Earlier this year, Verizon was pitching a two year triple play offer that included an incredible $500 prepaid card rebate as part of the promotion.  “I don’t think you’ll see those [low introductory rates from Cablevision] again ever,” said Dolan.

“The main theme that people should take away from the call today is that we continue to be focused on moving the business in a direction where we both retain existing subscribers and have attractive, economically sensible offers for new subscribers,” said Cablevision chief financial officer Gregg Seibert.

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  • Ernesto Honez: Was that a confirmed and signed "contract"? Was it verbal? Was it sent out in a letter as bulk mailing, or with a first class stamp? Was it's delivery...
  • Matt: I just got off the phone with AT&T. I called saying that I found a promotion through Time Warner for $34.99 for 15 mbps and I am trying to cut dow...
  • Phillip Dampier: It first went to a handful of test markets in upstate New York (not Rochester) and then has been redesignated as a feature enhancement in Maxx markets...
  • Steve Rea: Any idea when the new DVR is coming to Rochester? I remember a story you posed over 2 years ago from the CEO of TWC at the time! saying it was comi...
  • AustinTX: James, my suggestion would be to switch to TWC rental modems, and fry 2-3 of them over the course of several weeks by running 24v AC into the coax con...
  • Dragos: For 1Gbps in Romania we pay around 12 EUR (VAT included - 24%). http://www.rcs-rds.ro/internet-digi-net/fiberlink?t=internet-fix&pachet=digi_ne...
  • James R Curry: Hey, Phillip - While not related to Comcast directly -- I rent my modem from TWC, and while I'd rather buy one outright, there's one big factor ...
  • Sean: I believe that there are issues intermixing DOSCIS 2/3 modems on a node. It's been about 5 years since I've worked with a CMTS so I am by no means an...
  • AustinTX: Yep, this isn't about "your old modem isn't capable of the wonderful new speeds we're providing to your service tier", it's about "we know your custom...
  • MJ Lee: This is strange. I did get a letter from Time Warner saying my apartment was qualified for Time Warner Cable Maxx, but when I applied for it, I got an...
  • Tim: You know this is overstating the case ... unlimited data adsl2 plans are available from $60 in Australia. Average price is about $90...
  • Phillip Dampier: I think 10/Gbps is available in the USA as well, on an obscenely expensive metro Ethernet or commercial fiber link provisioned by a telecom company. ...

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