Cable One Invests in Two Fixed Wireless Providers

Phoenix-based cable operator looking to expand into rural portions of its footprint

Cable One announced investments into two fixed-wireless internet service providers during its second-quarter earnings call Thursday.

The Phoenix, Ariz.-based tier 2 cable operator said it had entered into an agreement to purchase 40% of Wisper ISP. (No dollar figure was announced.) The Mascoutah, Ill.-based fixed wireless broadband provider was a “big winner” in the FCC’s recent Connect America Fund II auction, covering six states served by Cable One, the cable company’s CFO, Steven Cochran, told investment analysts during Thursday’s earnings call.

Also in the second quarter, Cable One acquired “less than 10% interest” in Nextlink Internet, another CAF II funding recipient. Concordia, Kan.-based Nextlink also operates in six middle-American states within Cable One’s footprint.

“We believe that fixed wireless is a great complement to our business in less-dense areas surrounding our markets,” Cochran said. “Through the CAF II program, both Wisper and Nextlink are expanding their networks in bringing broadband to unserved and underserved parts of America. Given our rural broadband focus, we feel that these companies are strategically aligned and will contribute to our value creation over time.”

Cable One reported Q2 revenue of $328.3 million, up 14.9% year over year. The increase is attributed to growth of the cable operator’s priority sectors—high-speed data revenue increase dof 23.5% and business services revenue was up 17.5%.

The company’s residential broadband subscriber based increased by 145,000 customers in Q2, up 23.7%, bringing the total customer base to 758,000 users.

Cable One’s long-marginalized linear TV operation lost another 17,000 subscribers, meanwhile, and has whittled down to just 276,000 souls.