Comcast's X1 platform will reach 30% of footprint by year-end

Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) expects to have its X1 platform delivering services in 30 percent of its footprint by year-end and plans to accelerate that deployment in 2016, according to a top Comcast executive. 

Speaking at the UBS Global Media & Communications Conference today, Mike Cavanagh, senior executive vice president and CFO at Comcast, said that the company is deploying its X1 set-top boxes to customers at a rate of 40,000 per day and that it expects to end the year with 30 percent of its footprint covered. The company reported that it had covered 25 percent of its footprint at the end of October.

Cavanagh also said that 2016 will be a "big year" for X1 and that the company plans to push the platform even faster as the company has seen a significant decrease in churn with customers that have X1 as well as other promising trends, such as a higher penetration of DVRs, high usage of video on demand and higher average revenue per user.

Interestingly, Cavanagh also said that the company isn't looking for significant financial benefits by licensing the X1 platform to other pay-TV providers -- the company has licensed X1 to Cox Communications and Canada's Shaw Communications. Instead Cavanagh said that the company is doing so because it thinks having the ubiquity of its platform outside its footprint is a good thing. "The business case is less about financials of what we get paid by a partner … it is valuable to have something that spans the industry that demonstrates the power of cable and what our technology can do," he said.

Regarding Stream TV, the company's OTT offering that recently launched in Boston, Cavanagh said that while it's too early to report any significant data on Stream, the product does have benefits in terms of churn reduction.  When asked if Comcast plans to deploy Stream TV nationwide, Cavanagh said it would only do a broader rollout in its existing cable footprint because it relies upon existing programming rights. He also said that Comcast is not concerned about cannibalizing its existing base because it is targeting its non-video customers that have a high-speed data connection. "We are going after non-video customers," he added. "We are launching and learning."

Cavanagh also acknowledged that the company has triggered its MVNO deal with Verizon Wireless and is exploring what type of wireless offering it will bring to market. "We are big believers in Wi-Fi," he said. "With our progress with Wi-Fi, it makes sense to explore the MVNO offering and add value to customers." However, Cavanagh declined to provide any additional details on exactly what that offering will entail.

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