18 Sep Cincinnati Bell Plans to Cover 70-80% of Cincinnati with Fiber
Cincinnati Bell has taken the initiative to use its fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) services to transform into a fiber and entertainment-based company aimed at businesses and residential customers.
At the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Media, Communications and Entertainment Conference, Ted Torbeck, Cincinnati Bell’s CEO, stated the company’s plans to cover a vast amount of the area it serves with fiber.
“We got about 38 percent of the city covered today and we’re hoping to have that accelerated over the next couple of years to reach our full potential, which we think is somewhere between 70 and 80 percent,” Torbeck said. “On the consumer side of the business, we’re very similar to what Google is trying to accomplish.”
Cincinnati Bell gained the finances to support its fiber network expansion by selling its wireless assets to Verizon and a stake in Cyrus One. According to Torbeck, the way more members are added to its technician and support workforce will determine the speed at which FTTP development is accomplished. “The pace that we’re going to build is not only based on money, but how fast we can ramp up the techs and the people that will install the service,” Torbeck said. “You have to do it in a systematic way or it becomes out of control.”
Introducing the Fioptics FTTP service into new parts of the city has resulted in great take rates. “We’re executing extremely well where in the first pass we’re getting somewhere close to 20 percent penetration and over time we’re hoping to get 45 percent after we have been there a year or two,” Torbeck said. “That’s the target area that we’re looking at.”
Sharing the same perspective as Lowell McAdam, Verizon’s CEO, Torbek believes broadband is the more fundamental piece of the entertainment and broadband combination. “We think controlling the pipe to the home or the business is critical,” he said. “The demand for speed and capacity has never been greater so we think that broadband will be the most integral part of this.”
Cincinnati Bell made an eye-opening move in the midst of its FTTP expansion, offering 1 Gbpa to its Fioptics consumer customers. After an unsuccessful attempt to become Google Fiber’s fiber city, Cincinnati officials are once again determined to become its next fiber city in March. Cincinnati Bell doesn’t provide 50-100 Mbps like its competitor, Time Warner Cable, but recognizes that good customer service is what keeps the competition strong.
“Time Warner Cable has not gone away,” Torbeck said. “Earlier this year, [it] came out with a 5 Mbps service for $14.99 for Internet customers, so we dropped our price to $14.99 and matched where they were and the bleeding has subsided.”
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