While their sub adds were nowhere near DBS proportions, overbuilders posted solid 2Q results for the most part. GA-based Knology saw its cable connections decline 2% sequentially to 175K. However, video is up 32% from a year ago. HSD hook-ups increased 33% year-over-year to 77K, while telephone subs rose 6% to 128K. For TX-based overbuilder Grande Comm, video subs climbed to 78K from 49K a year ago. Data subs rose to 47K from 23K and phone connections increased to 105K from 55K. Bankrupt RCN blamed increased competition for slower-than-expected revenue growth. The average number of RCN customers did increase slightly during the Q, while services per a residential home rose 7.4% to 2.46 services per residential customer from 2.29 a year ago. Voice connections increased 6.3%, video rose 2.4% and HSD connections climbed 22.6%, according to an SEC filing. Skywards Satellite broadband venture WildBlue is set to come to market early next year with a $49.95/month price point. But don’t let the price deceive you. While it sounds relatively affordable, the speeds are nowhere near the 3Mbps range of most cable ops. Still, WildBlue’s business plan is to reach the homes that don’t have access to cable modem or DSL service. The $50 package is expected to feature download speeds of up to 512kbps with upload of 256 kbps. It will cost more for its 1.5 Mbps, likely in the ballpark of $79.95/month. Discounts, Promotions, Etc Comcast is striking back at the competition with a new digital cable promo that features digital for $19.95/month until Jan in select markets, including parts of MD. Speeding Up SBC is upping the speed of "SBC Yahoo DSL Express" service. Customers who subscribe to the $26.95/month package will see their download speed increase to 256kbps from 128kbps for no extra charge. The $36.99 package will increase to 416kbps from 384kbps. Don’t Mess With Texas Verizon’s not backing down from fiber-to-the-home, dubbed "Fios." Witness its just-reached tentative agreement with the CWA in TX, the site of its 1st rollout. One of the sticky points in negotiations was Verizon’s fiber-optic network in Keller and other North Texas communities. "We were negotiating in uncharted waters," said Verizon spokesman Bill Kula. The result of the talks was a new position called "term employees." These workers are typically hired from outside the company and work for 6 months to 3 years on a fiber rollout. "It allows us to have the flexibility to manage the workforce with an ebb and flow nature as we roll out broadband service on a market-by-market basis," Kula said. "We anticipate the … labor demand will move from 1 community to another." Since TX is the 1st and only place Verizon has rolled out fiber, it’s the 1st place to have to work out the details in union contracts. But with FL and CA next on the fiber blueprint, the RBOC’s prepared to agree to similar terms in those states. Customer Service Although two-thirds of US consumers say they’d gladly pay more money for certain services in exchange for better customer care, cable/DBS isn’t one of them. According to a new Accenture study, just 8% of 1K adults surveyed said they’d pony up for better cable/satellite service. Managed healthcare received the highest vote at 20% in the study, conducted for Accenture by TNS. Of the 17 industries reviewed, cable/satellite ranked 4th in terms of general satisfaction with 39% saying they were generally pleased with the service. The Postal Service was #1 (44%), followed by banks (42%) and utilities (41%). Telephone providers ranked 6th at 34%. [Editor’s Note: Eye Spy is a new column for CableFAX Daily. We welcome your input and suggestions as we develop this new feature highlighting all aspects of competition for cable. Please send comments to amaclean@accessintel.com.]

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Supply Chain: Fiber Demand Skyrockets in Age of COVID

Broadband and cable operator are running into supply chain problems as they embark on construction—particularly for fiber.

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