Cable operator Altice USA has decided to skip over DOCSIS 3.1 upgrades and invest in a full fibre to the home (FTTH) deployment across its entire network footprint, in a project that is expected to be complete within five years.
The fourth largest cable company in the US following its acquisitions of Suddenlink and Cablevision, Altice USA is also the first major cable provider in the country to announce a large-scale fibre deployment plan.
The decision to invest in FTTH stands in stark contrast to the strategy recently highlighted by multinational cable company Liberty Global, which thinks DOCSIS 3.1 is more than adequate to meet consumer demand (see Cable networks could meet Europe’s Gigabit Society targets within two years).
Altice USA is a subsidiary of Dutch conglomerate Altice NV, which has successfully deployed FTTH in various international markets it serves. Altice France is on track to reach 22 million fibre homes by the end of 2022, and Altice Portugal (formerly Portugal Telecom) will reach the milestone of 5.3 million fibre homes passed by the end of 2020, making Portugal the first European country entirely equipped with fibre.
Taking advantage of this experience, Altice USA will deploy fibre deep into its network to create a network capable of 10Gb/s broadband speeds to customers. The operator will deploy equipment that meets the NG-PON2 standard and exploits proprietary technologies developed by Altice Labs (previously PT Inovação), the company’s global research and development arm.
“Across the globe, Altice has invested heavily in building state-of-the- art fibre-optic networks, and we are pleased to bring our expertise stateside to drive fibre deeper into our infrastructure for the benefit of our U.S. Optimum and Suddenlink customers,” said Dexter Goei, Altice USA chairman and chief executive officer.
The company’s five-year deployment schedule will begin in 2017. Altice expects to reach all of its Optimum footprint and most of its Suddenlink footprint during that timeframe. No doubt about it, this is a major deployment as Altice USA currently serves 4.6 million customers across 20 states.
In addition to delivering a superior customer experience for the long term, the new architecture will result in a more efficient and robust network with a significant reduction in energy consumption. Altice expects to reinvest efficiency savings to support the buildout without a material change in its overall capital budget.