Cable modems move fast despite @Home mess: Comcast and Charter report gains amid switch to in-house – High-Speed Access
The first look at cable-modem growth in the fourth quarter suggests only minimal disruption in install rates following the collapse of Excite@Home.
Comcast, which had one of the largest customer bases with the faltering Internet service provider, reported last week that it came in just under expectations, while Charter hit its number for the period ended Dec. 31.
Operating under a temporary agreement with Excite@Home for the entire month of December, Comcast added 155,000 high-speed-data subs, or 1,190 per week, in the quarter compared to 117,000, or 8,800 per week, in the third quarter, a period impacted by the Sept. 11 attacks.
Though Comcast’s results are the more important indicator, it’s still significant that Charter was able to reach 630,000 cable-modem customers as it transitioned a smaller slice of @Home subs to its in-house network. The multiple system operator added 122,000 subs in the quarter, or 9,400 per week, compared to 88,000, or 6,800 per week, in the third quarter.
On the digital front, Comcast’s install pace dipped from its strong third-quarter performance. The MSO installed 213,000 new digital boxes in the quarter to an estimated 178,000 subs at 1.2 boxes per home. That’s down from its third-quarter total of 243,000 new boxes to an estimated 203,000 customers. At the end of 2001, it topped 1.94 million digital subs.
Charter Communications ended the year with 2.15 million digital subs after adding approximately 199,000 customers, well off its third-quarter performance of 366,000 new customers.
The shocker: Comcast ended the year with 3 million homes equipped to receive VOD, a whopping I million more than it had projected only a few months ago.
Time Warner Cable, unaffected by @Home, doubled its high-speed Internet subscribers to 1.9 million. It also added 1.5 million digital subs to reach a total of 3.3 million.
The MSO noted that experience with multiple ISPs shows that customers who select an ISP other than its own Road Runner represent incremental growth.
“There is no cannibalization,” said COO Bob Pittman. “Multiple ISPs are here to stay.”
It also isn’t taking away from AOL’s dialup service: Customers who start with AOL as their ISP tend to keep it, even after they upgrade to faster access.
HSD SNAPSHOT: NET INSTALLS (000)
MSO Q3 Q4 TOTAL CHANGE
Comcast 117 155 948 35%
Charter 88 122 630 39%
SOURCE: KAGAN WORLD MEDIA
From Kagan Broadband, a Media Central/ Primedia Publication.
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