Bundles Boost Charter in 1Q

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Charter Communications reported its second straight quarter of double-digit revenue and cash-flow growth -- a testament to the power of the triple-play bundle of video, voice and telephony.

Charter reported first-quarter revenue of $1.4 billion, a 10.7% increase over last year, and cash flow of $496 million, a 13.2% increase over 2006 and its highest growth quarter in more than four years.

Driving those increases were gains in telephone subscribers (127,000), digital-cable customers (65,000), basic-video customers (16,500) and high-speed-Internet subscribers (124,000) during the period.

On a conference call with analysts, Charter CEO Neil Smit said about 40% of Charter’s customers are now in two- or three-product bundles.

“Bundling is positively impacting every operating metric,” Charter chief operating officer Mike Lovett said on the call, adding that the company currently has phone service available in about 7.3 million homes inside its footprint and it is moving toward its previously stated goal of having the service available to more than 8 million homes passed by the end of the year.

Charter also said it signed an agreement to swap its West Sacramento, Calif., system with about 34,000 revenue-generating units to Wave Broadband in exchange for Wave’s 26,000 RGUs in Ventura and Cerritos, Calif., near Charter’s existing suburban Los Angeles cluster.

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