Cox Communications, the nation’s third-largest cable company, announced it plans to acquire EasyTEL Communications, a CLEC offering voice, data and video services to commercial customers in the Tulsa, OK market.
While the acquisition in and of itself is not a huge deal, it does speak to ongoing competition for business services between traditional phone companies and cable operators. Cable operators don’t always have network facilities that pass businesses, so they will lease or buy fiber rings to bring potential business customers “on-net.” The FCC modified regulations last year, making it easier for cable operators to buy CLECS and expand their business operations.
Provided this acquisition is approved by regulators, Cox Business will own a network in the Tulsa market that covers approximately 95,000 fiber route miles, connecting over 21,000 customer locations. Cox Business services more than 300,000 small and regional businesses, and as the seventh largest voice service provider in the U.S., it supports one million phone lines.
In other cable-related news, cable operators showed mixed results in the first half of 2013 with their VoIP market share. Comcast, the nation’s largest cable company, now has over 10 million VoIP customers-- growing its base by 3.7 percent in the first six months of 2013. Charter, the fourth largest cable operator, with about 2 million VoIP lines in service, expanded its VoIP customer base by 5.5 percent in the first half of this year. However, Time Warner Cable’s growth may have peaked: with just over 5 million VoIP customers in 2012, it lost 1.8 percent of its VoIP subscribers by Q2 2013.
AT&T and Verizon have increased their VoIP subscriber counts in 2013, although traditional phone companies continue to lose legacy voice customers to competing VoIP providers and wireless substitution.