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Charter Communications Navigates Fiber and Fixed Wireless Challenges

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In the dynamic landscape of telecommunications, Charter Communications is strategically addressing the challenges posed by emerging technologies such as fiber optics and fixed wireless access (FWA). The company’s Chief Financial Officer, Jessica Fischer, highlighted Charter’s resilience against fiber competition, emphasizing the significance of pacing in the deployment of this technology.

During the UBS Global Media and Communication Conference, Fischer explained that Charter faces a mixed competitive landscape, ranging from encounters with new fiber providers to competing against established ones. Once Charter overcomes the initial period of contending with a new competitor, it asserts its position in the market.

In contrast to fiber, fixed wireless is a newer technology that quickly gained a broad customer base. Fischer acknowledged its lower quality but emphasized its cost-effectiveness. Charter experiences the most impact in areas without fiber overbuild, but Fischer expects the effects to be temporary, noting that, as data usage increases, customers will recognize the importance of quality.

Regarding Charter’s network evolution and preparations for DOCSIS 4.0, Fischer reported that the company has initiated the first phase of upgrades across its markets. This includes implementing high-split architecture to expand usable spectrum, laying the foundation for extended spectrum (ESD) DOCSIS 4.0 deployment.

While Charter progresses with its network upgrades, there is a potential delay in Phase 2. Fischer anticipates a “few months delay” due to considerations such as managing total capital spend and coordinating with vendors. The second phase involves high-split upgrades covering an additional 50% of Charter’s footprint, incorporating distributed access architecture (DAA) using Remote PHY.

Addressing potential delays, Fischer affirmed the company’s commitment to efficient execution, stating that the adjustments are necessary for prudent capital management and to ensure a swift and successful rollout of network upgrades.

Charter Communications continues to navigate the evolving telecommunications landscape, demonstrating adaptability and strategic planning to stay ahead in the competitive market.

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