U.S. Cable TV Operator Capex to Grow in 2015, Decline Afterwards

SNL ImageU.S. cable operators will in 2015 will have made more capital investment than ever before in a single year (not adjusted for inflation).

According to SNL Kagan estimates, U.S. cable operators will invest $16.66 billion. Some of that capital will go to plant extensions and upgrades, but about $7 billion, or 42 percent, is for customer premises equipment. Much of that is for video set-tops, while some is for high speed access routers and modems.
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Comcast plans to allocate 14.5 percent of cable segment revenue to capital investment. 

Other firms also will boost spending, while some will decrease capex. 

Time Warner Cable will boost capex to $4.45 billion, up 8.6 percent, year over year. 

Suddenlink will boost spending about 16 percent.

Charter will drop capex 27 percent from 2014 levels, as will Cablevision Systems.

SNL Kagan expects modest declines in 2016 capex, industry-wide.

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Spending on scalable infrastructure on network virtualization, DOCSIS 3.1, the Converged Cable Access Platform, increased on-demand and multiscreen content delivery, enhanced cloud-based guides and increased reliance on unmanaged devices also will grow modestly.

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The upgrades to 1 Gbps broadband services are boosting spending on capacity upgrades, as well.

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