Rich fiber diet drives Bell Aliant's video growth

Bell Aliant added 13,400 net new TV subscribers to its FibreOP service in the first quarter thanks in no small part to the carrier's fiber-to-the-home network strategy.

FibreOP TV now has 171,400 total subscribers, the greatest majority of Bell Aliant's 189,800 IPTV customer base. The carrier also reported 200,000 FibreOP Internet subs (16,000 new in the quarter) as part of a total of 963,000 recorded Internet subscribers at the end of the quarter. The FTTH network passes 827,000 premises.

"Our fiber-to-the-home technology makes us the communications provider of choice in many of our markets and we believe provides our customers with the best technology available," Karen Sheriff, Bell Aliant's president and CEO said in an earnings press release. "We expect this, along with solid cost management, will ultimately lead us to growth in the future."

The Internet and TV subscriber additions drove data revenues up 8.6 percent year-over-year to $22 million. IPTV revenue was up 43.5 percent ($11 million) year-over-year.

The company, which reported total first quarter operating revenues of $676 million, down 1.2 percent or $8 million year-over-year, is pursuing an aggressive subscriber deployment strategy as "the path to returning us to revenue growth," Sheriff said.

"We have continued to invest aggressively in fiber-to-the-home and by the end of 2014 expect to pass one million premises with FTTH," CFO Glen LeBlanc predicted in the press release. "Our success in the FibreOP markets is strengthening our company for the future."

It's also helping to offset a losing trend being suffered by the entire wireline industry. In the first quarter, residential network access services (NAS) declined by 23,900--2,400 less than the same quarter in 2013 but business NAS declines hit 7,600 compared to 5,900 in 2013.

For more:
- see this earnings release

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