Comcast Accelerates X1 Rollout

Deploying More than 40,000 Boxes Per Day (Update)
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Pleased by the positive impact X1 has had in areas such as churn and VOD usage, Comcast has accelerated its rollout of the IP-capable platform, announcing Tuesday that it is now deploying more than 40,000 boxes per day, up from the 25,000 per day it had been rolling out. 

Speaking on the company’s third quarter earnings call, Comcast EVP and CFO Michael Cavanaugh said the operator  added about 1 million X1 subs in the period, and that about one-fourth of all Comcast customers are now on the platform, which features a cloud-based interface and support for IP-connected tablets, PCs and smartphones. Comcast has also deployed nearly 1.5 million voice-remotes that work with the X1 platform.

Neil Smit, president and CEO of Comcast Cable, added that 60% of connects in the quarter were for X1.

Smit also said Comcast’s reduced churn levels are due to putting new and existing subs on X1, putting more subscribers on service contracts and improvements in customer care/customer experienced.

“It’s been a combination of a number of factors,” Smit said of the improving churn numbers, noting that more than one-third of Comcast’s video subs are using TV Everywhere apps on a monthly basis. “Our customer experience improvements have helped significantly.”

Smit also discussed Internet Plus, a package that combines broadband service with a lighter video product. Smit said Comcast has been able to upsell about 30% of those customers to higher-level packages when the promotion period runs its course.

He had nothing new to report on the rollout of Stream, an emerging $15  per month IP video service that will feature the broadcast networks, HBO and the MSO’s cloud DVR service. Comcast, Smit said, is testing Stream in one market (Boston).

Update: Comcast has not announced a commercial launch date for Stream, but a company official said that the service will be "launching more broadly in Boston soon."  When Stream was announced, Comcast outlined a plan to launch Stream first in Boston by the end of the summer, followed by debuts in Chicago and Seattle, and bring it to the rest of the MSO’s footprint by “early 2016.”