Consolidated maintains fiber-to-metal pedal in Q3, predicts further brand push


Consolidated Communications is on track to surpass its 2021 target for gigabit fiber upgrades after the independent telephone company said Thursday it had completed 97,000 upgrades in the third quarter.

The figure, presented as part of the company’s third quarter results, comes after Consolidated announced 76,000 fiber upgrades in the second quarter of this year and 46,000 in the first quarter as it committed to the goal of achieving nearly 2 million fiber upgrades by 2025.

Overall, the company’s penetration rate is now 18%, after being 14% in the previous quarter. The 2026 target would result in fiber upgrades for 70% of Consolidated’s total service area.

“We are executing well and ahead of schedule in our fiber network deployment and are on track to upgrade over 300,000 locations to gig-enabled fiber this year,” said Bob Udell, President and CEO of Consolidated Communications. “So far in 2021, we have increased consumer fiber optic connections by 20% since the start of the year and increased average revenue per unit of consumer data by 7%. These advancements position Consolidated for continued growth and opportunity as we prepare to launch a new brand, introducing a premium fiber product and exceptional customer experience. “

Over the next month, Consolidated will add even more fuel to its fiber fire with the planned launch in mid-November of a new branding that will highlight Consolidated’s offering of 1 Gbps symmetrical download speeds. and whole-home mesh Wi-Fi with no data caps or contract requirements, Udell said. The company has also improved its overall customer experience with online orders, self-service capabilities, and other tools.

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Turning to Consolidated earnings figures, third quarter 2021 revenue was $ 318.6 million, with consumer broadband revenue up 2.1% to $ 68.6 million , and data and transportation revenues up 1.1% to just over $ 91 million.

That overall revenue was down 2.6% from the third quarter of 2020. At the same time, capital spending rose sharply in the third quarter, totaling over $ 144 million. This was due not only to the ongoing fiber development, but also the fact that Consolidated decided to acquire more equipment for customers, as telecommunications and other sectors continue to face disruption in the chain. supply and product shortages.

“We have ramped up our fiber acquisition and are putting it in place quickly to mark our spots on the poles and in the ground so that we are ready to deploy,” Udall said. “So we were doing fine on the physical setup, but we ended up at an inflection point between Wi-Fi 5 and Wi-Fi 6, so we bought some additional Wi-Fi 5 hardware for us. protect, because there are concerns. on the availability of Wi-Fi 6 chips and we do not see any chip supply chain issues resolved in the near future.

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