Consolidated plots 2-gig internet launch as fiber catches fire

One year into its fiber expansion plan, Consolidated Communications is looking to up the ante with the rollout of a new multi-gig service tier this quarter. The company announced as much on its Q1 2022 earnings call, during which it reported its strongest fiber net additions to date.

Speaking on the call, CEO Bob Udell said it pulled in 8,000 fiber customers in the quarter, with 75% of these coming as new subscribers and the remaining 25% customers upgrading from Consolidated’s DSL service. The operator’s Fidium Fiber brand currently offers plans ranging from 250 Mbps up to 1-gig and Udell said 60% of net additions took the latter.

He added they’ll soon have another options to choose from, noting Consolidated plans to launch a 2 Gbps tier in June.

The operator kicked off its fiber expansion approximately one year ago, aiming to reach at least 1.6 million locations by 2025. It followed with the launch of its Fidium Fiber brand in New England in November 2021. Udell provided an update on how its first deployment cohort is fairing, stating penetration is tracking “slightly above our target of 14%.” He reiterated the targets for Years 2 and 3 are 24% and 33%, respectively.

Deployments continue to roll along with Consolidated adding 83,700 new passings in the quarter to raise its total to 690,000 or 25% of its footprint. It expects to add 100,000 new fiber passings in Q2, Udell said. It still covers over 2 million locations with DSL and copper connections.

“We doubled our fiber passings in 2021 and will nearly double them again in 2022. We are well positioned competitively and 90% of our service area has one or no competitor,” he added. “By the end of 2022, 37% of our locations will be fiber-to-the-premise with multi-gig capable speeds.” That figure compares to 10% fiber coverage at the start of 2021.


Despite the fiber momentum, revenues fell 7.5% year on year to $300.3 million, with Consolidated more than doubling its net loss attributable to common shareholders to $125.3 million. However, CFO Steve Childers noted it recorded a goodwill impairment charge of $126.5 million related to the recently announced sale of its Kansas City assets.

Consumer fiber revenue jumped 22% year on year to $17.2 million, but overall consumer broadband revenue was roughly flat at $65.9 million. Total consumer revenue including Voice and Video services came in at $117.7 million, down from $123 million. Commercial revenue slipped to $105.8 million from $106 million while Carrier revenue dipped to $37.7 million from $38.2 million.

It seems legacy subscriber losses outpaced the company’s substantial fiber net additions, with Consolidated reporting an overall loss of 854 consumer broadband customers. This was down from a loss of 3,355 in Q1 2021.