The Broadband Fight

“Charter made broadband available to 200,000 new rural locations in 2022, according to Winfrey. The Charter rural take rate for “passings open at least six months” is “ahead of expectations at about 40%,” he said.”  That is the ROI on their RDOF winnings. [telecomp]

A ton of private equity money is following the government funds into putting fiber assets in the ground. A few PE firms bought a small ISP and poured $100M into each to jump start FTTx projects.

Quite a few winners of government funds were WISPs who ended up getting investment dollars from cablecos or VCs.

There is going to be massive amounts of fiber projects in the next two to three years.

One ISP got caught lying to the FCC about where it had network in order to block funds going to anyone else.

There has already been a couple of PE M&A, whereby a PE firm has sold its investment to another PE firm in the telco/fiber space. There will be a lot of M&A as it gets harder to install the fiber due to a lack of crews, supplies and gear.

While Charter claims a decent take rate, how are they turning up residential customers so fast? My experience is that it takes hours and they use contractors. Not certain they actually have 40% paying for lit service yet. Maybe 40% signed up.

This will mean more M&A in the ISP space as broadband scales, just ask JAB (recently acquired!)

I think it will be a wild ride since several ILECs are no longer incumbents but PE owned companies trying to figure out the asset allocation.

I hope this time round the fiber maps don’t get lost and are added to FiberLocator and Connectbase so that future owners and customers can find the fiber.

I think that cable’s heyday has peaked. Going forward FTTH and FWA via 5G will start to impede on cable subscribers. Verizon is already seeing success there.

“Total broadband net additions of 416,000 was the best total broadband performance in over a decade, reflecting a strong demand for Fios and fixed wireless products. This result included 379,000 fixed wireless net additions, an increase of 37,000 fixed wireless net additions from third-quarter 2022. The company reported sequential quarterly net addition growth in fixed wireless throughout 2022. Full-year 2022 total broadband net additions were 1,290,000, an increase from 409,000 total broadband net additions in full-year 2021. 59,000 Fios Internet net additions.” [Verizon]

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