Altice set to roll out ‘The Box’ in the U.S., Goei says

Altice USA CEO Dexter Goei
The Box "will drive less clutter in the home,” Altice CEO Dexter Goei told an audience at the NAB Show.

LAS VEGAS—After successfully deploying ‘The Box’ in France, Altice USA plans to roll out the combination DVR, modem and Wi-Fi router to the U.S. later this year. 

“It will be something that will drive less clutter in the home,” said Altice USA CEO Dexter Goei, making a rare keynote address by a cable executive Tuesday afternoon at the NAB Show convention here. “It uses power efficiently, and it will provide savings for both the customer and for us over time.”

Developed by Altice at its own laboratory in Portugal, the device includes a 1 gigabit fiber modem, an eight-tuner DVR with a 500 gigabyte hard drive, and a new user interface. 

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Speaking on a wide range of subjects, Goei also commented on Altice’s recently announced decision to bypass deployment of DOCSIS 3.1 in its acquired Cablevision footprint in the Northeast and proceed directly to fiber deployment. 

“Fiber today remains the most robust, efficient, reliable technology,” he said. “For us to invest in our networks in little steps that eventually get to fiber makes no sense… At the minimum, we know we have a competitive advantage relative to many of our peers.”

Goei conceded that Altice USA is in the midst of conducting an IPO in order to raise money for acquisition. “The reason we’re doing an IPO is pretty obvious,” he said. “But it has to be the right combination. The scale has to make sense.”

Also, while calling Ajit Pai a “smart, dynamic person,” Goei said the new FCC chairman has done a good job of “clarifying some of the regulatory overhangs." And in an obvious reference to Google, he said Pai has done a good job of pushing back on “some of those who are tangential to our industry but were being treated differently.”

Goei also commented on IP-based pay-TV competition, which has ramped up significantly in recent months with the introductions of DirecTV Now and YouTube TV.

“We remain in an environment where virtual MVPDs don’t deliver a radically better product at a compelling price,” he said. “But they will certainly evolve.”