Breezeline Lost Broadband Subs In Latest Quarter
By Ted Hearn, Editor of Policyband
Washington, D.C., Jan. 12, 2024 – Breezeline’s most recent quarter was a struggle.
In the quarter ended Nov. 30, 2023, the company lost 8,476 broadband Internet subscribers, ending with 663,286. The cable TV video segment lost 8,736 subscribers, ending with 280,145, and the number of voice customers declined by 3,706, ending with 34,382.
Breezeline, headquartered in Quincy, Mass., is a subsidiary of Cogeco Communications based in Montreal, Canada. Cogeco’s results for Breezeline were for the first quarter of fiscal 2024, which began Sept. 1, 2023.
Breezeline’s revenue came in at C$371.2 million, down 6%, “driven mainly by a lower customer base over the past year, with an increasing proportion of customers only subscribing to Internet services,” Cogeco said in statement.
In its guidance, Cogeco said it expects Breezeline’s revenue to decline in the low single digits in the second quarter.
“In the United States, the ongoing economic and competitive challenges continue to be a headwind for our Breezeline operations.” Cogeco said.
Cogeco CEO Philippe Jette Philippe Jetté said on a conference call Wednesday that Breezeline has been investing in the Ohio cable systems acquired from WideOpenWest in 2021.
“You'll remember that for many quarters we invested in bettering the quality, the performance, the capacity of the network in the regions. It took time, but it's paying off,” Jetté said. “For example, in Columbus [Ohio] -- the local newspaper, The Columbus Dispatch, has now voted us the best network in the City of Columbus.”
But Jetté added that Breezeline is experiencing competitive pressure not just from Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) providers T-Mobile and Verizon but also from AT&T and Charter.
“It will take some quarters for us to be net positive and find growth again, but we have significantly reduced the decline. And now we're working our way up to a net positive, but it will take several quarters from here to cross that line,” Jetté said.
U.S. wireline broadband ISPs added about 50,000 subscribers in the third quarter last year, with Comcast surprising Wall Street with a loss of 18,000. Charter CFO Jessica Fischer recently said the company could have negative broadband net adds in the fourth quarter, after gaining 63,000 in the third quarter.
Top executives at Comcast and Charter have said they do not view FWA as long-term threat because they do not believe FWA can keep up with consumers’ bandwidth demands. In third quarter last year, T-Mobile and Verizon added 941,000 subscribers combined.