Telefonica to bring FTTP to Madrid this year

Telefónica and Madrid City Council have announced that the Spanish communications service provider plans to bring 100-Mbps broadband services to 1.3 million households and companies via fiber to the premises (FTTP) before the end of the year.

The FTTP infrastructure roll out has already begun in the districts of Hortaleza, Arganzuela, Moncloa-Aravaca, and Fuencarral-El Pardo. Telefonica expects that by year end, it will have passed more than 80% of homes and corporate offices in the area. Outside of the capital, Telefónica already has connected homes and businesses in such towns as Pozuelo Madrid, Majadahonda, San Sebastian de los Reyes, Tres Cantos, Las Rozas, Alcobendas, and Alcalá de Henares, with more than 100,000 active customers in total.

Throughout the country, Telefonica says it had passed 1.3 million potential subscribers by the end of the first quarter of this year, three times the amount passed at the same time last year. The service provider says it has more than 200,000 subscribers to its FTTP-enabled services.

Telefónica Spain says it has assembled a team of 2,200 to ensure the success of the deployment.

APAC has 75% of world's FTTH/B users

Asia-Pacific is home to 75% of the world's FTTH/B customers, with the region's subscriber base growing strongly last year, research shows.

The FTTH Council Asia Pacific has published research showing that the number of APAC FTTH/B subscribers grew 28% in 2011 to 58 million.

Total FTTH/B coverage grew nearly 73% over the same period – by the end of the year, more than 175 million of the region's homes have been passed by fiber.

The research, conducted by IDATE, identified around 90 fiber projects across the region. It shows that incumbent operators have typically taken the lead in fiber deployments, accounting for 67% of APAC homes passed by FTTH/B.

Japan is still the leading FTTH/B market in APAC – and the world – but FTTH Council Asia said the market has reached maturity. Japan also lags behind South Korea and Hong Kong by market penetration.

While China's penetration is currently only around 5%, deployments are growing rapidly, and the market is expected to soon overtake Japan as the world's largest.

Taiwan is another leading FTTH/B market, with penetration approaching 30%. Subscribers are also growing rapidly in Vietnam, Singapore and Malaysia.

APAC is also home to ambitious state-led fiber projects in Australia, Singapore and New Zealand.

While the research shows that that these projects accounted for less than 1% of total APAC homes passed by FTTH/B in 2011, the lofty subscriber goals could help APAC maintain its lead in fiber deployment.

Australia's NBN aims for 93% FTTH population coverage by 2021, Singapore's NG-NBN is targeting 95% coverage by mid-2012, and New Zealand's Ultrafast Fibre (UFB) project seeks to provide 75% population coverage by 2019.

In terms of technology choice, PON accounted for 92% of the region's FTTH/B rollouts at the end of 2011.

FTTH Council Asia said APAC operators are favoring FTTB over FTTH, because it allows them to avoid the issues attendant with deploying fiber on private premises. FTTB deployments accounted for 64% of rollouts as of the end of the year.

Bell Aliant Q1 2012 earnings up on increased FTTH footprint, IPTV revenues

Bell Aliant (Toronto: BA-UN.TO) reported Q1 2012 net income of CAD 87 million (USD 88 million), up from CAD 84 million (USD 85 million) in the same period a year ago, a result of strong IPTV and next-gen service growth in the quarter.

However, revenue remained flat year-on-year at CAD 682 million (USD 693 million) in the three months ended 31 March 2012, while quarterly EBITDA fell by 1.2 percent to CAD 325 million (USD 330 million).

The service provider's earnings per share and adjusted earnings per share in the quarter were CAD 0.38 (USD 0.39) and CAD 0.45 (USD 0.46) respectively, up from CAD 0.37 (USD 0.37) and CAD 0.44 (USD 0.45) in the same quarter of 2011.

A key point in its Q1 growth cycle was its ongoing buildout of both IPTV services and its FibreOP Fiber to the Home (FTTH) network into a number of additional markets throughout the quarter.

"FibreOP is playing a key role in the turnaround, with our first quarter results particularly strong in FibreOP territories," said Karen Sheriff, president and chief executive officer, Bell Aliant, in the earnings release. "Over 500,000 premises in Atlantic Canada now have access to FibreOP services."

Here's a breakdown of the service provider's key metrics:

  • Wireline losses: As expected, local voice service and long distance revenues service and long distance revenues declined CAD 14 million (USD 14 million) and CAD 9 million (USD 9.14 million), respectively, in the Q1 2012. Overall Network Access Services (NAS) were down 5.4 percent at the end of March 2012 from Q1 2012, due to cable competitors luring away subscribers with their own triple play bundle packages. However, it did narrow residential net NAS losses to 26,000 from 29,000 Q1 2011. Meanwhile, business net NAS declines increased to 9,000 in the first quarter of 2012 from 4,000 in the same quarter of 2011, a factor it attributes to wholesale and enterprise contract losses in addition to the competitive activity and business customers' movement to IP-based technologies.
  • Broadband, Internet services: Internet revenue increased CAD 9 million (USD 9.14 million), or 7.5 percent, in Q1 2012 over Q1 2011. The service provider reported that residential high-speed average revenue per customer (ARPC) grew 7.7 percent from Q1 2011. Broadband subscribership also rose in Q1. At the end of March, Bell Aliant had 902,000 broadband customers, up 2.8 percent from the same period in 2011. Its bet on FTTH continued to also pay off in Q1 as it added 13,000 FibreOP customers, reaching 59,000 total customers at the end of March. A good portion of the FibreOP net adds were customers migrating from DSL and Fiber to the Node (FTTN)-based networks.
  • Video services: Fueled by new applications like its Facebook TV app, IPTV revenue continued to rise in the quarter with CAD 17 million (USD 17.3 million) in revenues and a total of 85,000 customers at the end of March 2012. FibreOP TV specifically added 11,000 new customers in the quarter to reach 52,000, a portion of which included customers migrating from Bell Aliant TV. Overall, Bell Aliant added 8,000 TV subscribers in Q1 2012, up from 4,000 in the same quarter last year.

The service provider said it is sticking with the revenue and growth forecasts it issued in February.

In late morning trading on the Toronto stock exchange, Bell Aliant's stock was down 1.95 percent at CAD 26.18 (USD 27).

Strategy Analytics: Verizon FiOS poised for continued growth in 2012

Verizon (NYSE: VZ) may have begun to wind down its FiOS rollout, but in the first quarter of 2012 the service provider saw an uptick in both subscribers and its average revenue per user (ARPU).

During Q1 2012, Verizon added a total of 104,000 broadband subscribers, reaching almost 8.8 million in the quarter. It also added 108,000 new FiOS TV customers, ending the quarter with a total of 4.35 million subscribers.

FiOS continues to be one of the telco's wireline growth engines, representing 63 percent of its consumer wireline revenues in Q1 2012.

Growth of FiOS has gotten the attention of Strategy Analytics, which argued in its latest Service Provider Quarterly Recap and Guidance: Verizon CYQ1'12 report that the telco's Q1 performance will set the stage for further FiOS growth in 2012.

The analyst firm forecasted that Verizon's FiOS broadband subscribers will surpass the 5.6 million mark by year's end. Likewise, the growth of the FiOS TV business will result in almost five million subscribers by the end of the year.

Jason Blackwell, director of Service Provider Strategies (SPS) at Strategy Analytics, said: "Over the coming months, the company is going to shift from an expansion strategy to work even harder on converting customers in its existing footprint to FiOS Broadband and TV services."

Already, the telco has been vocal about driving more of its DSL customers to FiOS.

Fran Shammo, CFO at Verizon, said during the company's Q1 earnings call that it plans to drive three initiatives with FiOS: increasing ARPU, increasing service costs, and rebundling products. He added that it would try to find ways to get customers off copper-based DSL and onto FiOS where possible, saying it was "better for us long-term."