||This article contains content that is written like an advertisement. (February 2014) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)|
|Founded||2003 (as Cebridge Connections)
2006 (as Suddenlink)
|Headquarters||St. Louis, MO|
|Dexter Goei (Chief Executive Officer, Altice Group / Executive Chairman, Altice USA)
Hakim Boubazine (Co-President and Chief Operating Officer, Altice USA)
Charles F. Stewart (Co-President and Chief Financial Officer, Altice USA)
Video On Demand
Digital Video Recorders (DVRs)
TV Caller ID
Online Video (Suddenlink2GO)
Wireless Home Networking (WiFi@Home)
Suddenlink Media Cable Advertising
Network West Virginia
|Revenue||US$2.33 billion (2014)|
Suddenlink Communications, formerly Cebridge Connections, is a US cable broadband service provider with approximately 1.5 million subscribers. Suddenlink operates in 16 states including Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas. With its corporate headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri, Suddenlink is part of Altice N.V., a multinational telecoms company, and is being integrated into Altice USA which is the successor to Cablevision of New York City, which was acquired by Altice in 2016 and will be the fifth-largest cable provider in the United States. Suddenlink traces its origins to January 2002, when it was a part of Cequel Communications LLC. Cequel III, a separate privately owned company, which was founded by Jerry Kent, Howard Wood, and Dan Bergstein as an investment and management firm that focuses on development of cable and telecommunications companies. Cequel III maintained a contract with Suddenlink for the provision of certain management services.
In February 2003, the senior management team assumed responsibility for the American post-bankruptcy assets of Classic Communications, which served remote suburban areas, smaller towns, and rural communities. Suddenlink's parent company at the time, Cequel Communications, reported it would invest in and assume management of Classic Communications on February 12, 2003. At the time Classic was the 12th largest MSO with 325,000 customers in nine states (Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Colorado, and Ohio). Classic’s customers had been largely deprived of advanced services like high-speed Internet access. The new management team claims to have invested tens of millions of dollars to upgrade Classic systems and improve the quality and quantity of services they offered.
The company was renamed Cebridge Connections and continued to acquire new cable companies and new cable systems. As Cebridge, the company acquired cable systems previously owned by Alliance, Tele-Media, Thompson, and USA Media, as well as Shaw Communications' systems in Texas. In 2006, Cebridge became Suddenlink Communications after the deals to acquire cable systems from Cox Communications and Charter Communications closed.
Between 2006 and 2007, the company constructed a national backbone unique to cable operators of Suddenlink’s size. This backbone was engineered to support inter-office voice and data communications; customer call traffic; a centralized softswitch for rapid phone deployment; and centralized video-on-demand servers and content management tools. Subsequently, this backbone aided the company's 12- to 15-month expansion of a competitive phone service to new areas. As a result, by August 2009, the company counted more than 250,000 active phone lines serving residential and business customers, up from 30,000 in early 2007.
The company has also undertaken regional projects, such as its construction in West Texas of a 957-mile (1,540 km) fiber ring connecting its major markets in that part of the country, including Amarillo, Abilene, Midland, Lubbock, and San Angelo. This project supported the regional deployment of advanced services, including faster Internet download and upload speeds and video on demand.
On November 5, 2009, Suddenlink announced the completion of a $600 million debt offering. Suddenlink said that offering and a related bank amendment would facilitate an approximately $350 million capital investment plan through 2012, above and beyond the company’s traditional capital spending levels. According to company officials, this investment plan, dubbed “Project Imagine”, was primarily designed to increase the number of high-definition (HD) channels to 90 on average, with the capability to offer up to 200; and expand the general availability of HD service, video-on-demand, and DOCSIS 3.0 technology to substantially all Suddenlink customers. (DOCSIS 3.0 technology enables Internet speeds of up to the theoretical maximum of 1216 megabits per second, up from the theoretical maximum of 38 megabits per second for DOCSIS 2.0). As of the September 2012 conclusion of Project Imagine, HD channels were increased from an average of 24 to 85, with more than 100 in some markets. VOD and DOCSIS 3.0 technologies were expanded to areas serving substantially all customers.
In March 2010, Suddenlink began offering residential customers in several, suburban Austin communities High-Speed Internet MAX 107.0 service, featuring a download speed up to 107 megabits per second (Mbit/s) and an upload speed up to 5 Mbit/s. Cable Digital News confirmed the service was, at that time, “the fastest cable wideband tier in the U.S., in terms of downstream speeds”. In the following months, MAX 107.0 was launched in the Tyler, Texas area and several West Virginia communities.
In July 2010, the company jointly announced with the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) that all broadband technicians and installers with Suddenlink for at least 90 days had attained one or more professional certifications from SCTE. Suddenlink was the first major cable operator to reach this milestone.
That same month, Suddenlink and TiVo announced a collaboration in which Suddenlink would distribute co-branded TiVo Premiere DVRs. The TiVo Premiere DVR allows Suddenlink customers to access video-on-demand (VOD), Web, and other video content through TiVo's advanced user interface. In December 2010, the co-branded DVRs launched in Lubbock and Midland, Texas. In early 2011, the devices were rolled out in five more Texas cities as well as Clovis, New Mexico.
In April 2011, Suddenlink began offering HBO GO and MAX GO, authenticated online video destinations for HBO and Cinemax programming. In June, the company launched Suddenlink2GO, an online video service that allows subscribers to access select TV, movie, and shorter video content with a single interface, from any computer with a high-speed Internet connection. Suddenlink2GO was developed in partnership with Synacor.
In July 2011, Suddenlink was one of six partner companies mentioned in CNN’s announcement about live-streaming CNN and HLN on iPhones, iPads, and iPods. Also in July, the TiVo App for iPad and iPhone, which allows customers to view TV programming, schedule program recordings, and post Facebook and Twitter updates, was made available to those using TiVo Premiere DVRs from Suddenlink.
In November 2011, the company introduced software enhancements that added “any-room” capability to the Suddenlink TiVo Premiere DVRs. With that capability, a customer with three Suddenlink-TiVO devices could record up to six shows at the same time, watch recordings on any TV set, start watching a recorded program in one room and resume in another, and have up to 600 hours of recording space.
In October 2012, Suddenlink became the first cable operator in the country to offer TiVo Stream, a service that allows customers with TiVo Premiere DVRs to watch live TV channels and digital video recordings (DVR) in their homes on iPod Touch, iPads, and iPhones. TiVo Stream also allows customers to transfer many DVR recordings to these devices for viewing outside the home. TiVo Stream was launched first in Lubbock, Texas.
The company followed with another industry first in early 2013 when it rolled out TiVo Mini. The device offers a more economical, space-saving alternative to using multiple DVRs. TiVo Minis, when linked to a single Suddenlink TiVo HD/DVR, allow multi-room access to such features as DVR scheduling, playback, and the ability to pause, rewind, and use slow-motion and instant replay functions for live TV. The devices also allow viewers to record TV programming in one room and watch in another.
In August 2014, Suddenlink announced a program internally known as Operation GigaSpeed, designed to progressively boost Internet speeds and make a 1 Gigabit per second service available to virtually all of the company’s customers. To support the effort, the company’s board of directors approved an investment of almost a quarter-billion dollars above and beyond other capital improvements to upgrade network and in-home equipment and complete its conversion to all-digital video.
The following month, the company launched Connected Home, an automation service that offers monitoring and remote control of various home functions. Added to Suddenlink’s existing home security features were remote arming and disarming of the security system; control of lights, thermostats and door locks; text and email notifications; remote view streaming video and pictures inside and outside of the home. Optional monitoring devices added include carbon monoxide, smoke and flood detectors, image sensors, indoor and outdoor cameras, plug-in dimmer and lamp modules, garage door sensors, glass break sensors and panic buttons.
On October 1, 2014, Suddenlink removed 15 channels owned by Viacom (MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon, and TV Land) after the two companies failed to reach an agreement. Channels were replaced with other networks including Oprah Winfrey Network, Sprout, Pivot, Uplifting Entertainment, FXX, Investigation Discovery, Hallmark Channel, and the Blaze.
In May 2015, agreement was reached for Altice to buy 70% of Suddenlink Communications, which values the seventh-largest US cable company at $9.1 billion. The other 30% will continue to be owned by BC Partners and CPP Investment Board.
Since July 2015, the company has launched residential Internet service offerings to all households reached by the Suddenlink network in more than 30 communities in 11 states. In addition to launching the 1-Gbit/s Internet service, Suddenlink upgraded other services, resulting in standard Internet offerings of up to 50, 100, and 200 Mbit/s. The upgrades are part of Operation GigaSpeed – a three-year program investing nearly a quarter-billion dollars to bring 1-Gbit/s service to most of the company’s footprint by 2017.
- February 12, 2003 - Cequel III invests in Classic Communications, Inc.
- June 30, 2003 - Cequel III acquires cable systems from Shaw Communications, Inc.
- January 26, 2004 - Cequel III acquires cable systems from Alliance Communications Partners
- April 5, 2004 - Cequel III acquires cable systems from Thompson Cablevision
- June 3, 2004 - Acquires cable systems from Tele-Media
- August 19, 2004 Cebridge acquired cable systems from USA Media
- May 5, 2006 - Acquires cable systems from Cox Communications
- July 3, 2006 - Acquires cable systems from Charter Communications
- August 1, 2010 - Acquired a cable system from Windjammer Cable
- April 1, 2011 - Acquired cable systems from News-Press & Gazette Company
- January 2, 2014 - Acquired cable systems from Northland Communications
- October 1, 2014 - Acquired cable systems from New Wave Communications
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- Suddenlink.com - Official website