Tucows’ Noss: Google Fiber’s realignment won’t have a material impact

Ting, the wireline internet division of Tucows, does not envision Google Fiber’s recent troubles posing challenges to the larger FTTH service community.

Elliot Noss, president and CEO of Tucows, told investors during its first-quarter earnings call that there are still plenty of opportunities to expand its FTTH reach.

“There are certainly markets that had, had some conversation with Google who have been in contact with us,” said Noss during the call, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript. “But at the end of the day, it's such a big market, and Google had such big halo that I don't know that will necessarily have a material impact.”

RELATED: Tucows' Noss: We expect 20% FTTH internet adoption among serviceable addresses

Noss added that having a larger amount of FTTH service providers is a benefit to all players that participate in the fiber broadband segment.

“It's not, in any way, like 'Boy, we're pleased that Google Fiber is limited now to the 11 markets they're in and not expanding further,'” Noss said. “We really believe that in the case of fiber to the home, a high tide raises all boats and we would love to see more players in the space, not less.”

Expansions continue, recognition grows

In the markets where Ting already has built out FTTH service, Ting continues to gain brand recognition with local residents.

The service provider is seeing more residents in the Charlottesville, Virginia, market show demand for service and that it is gaining brand recognition, for example.

“In Charlottesville, we continue to see growing adoption in serviceable neighborhoods and we continue to expand our network to neighborhoods where preorders are waiting,” Noss said. “We find now that we need less to explain who Ting is and what gigabit and fiber are and more to overcome hurdles and objections."

Besides Charlottesville, Ting began expanding its network in Westminster, Maryland, and Holly Springs, North Carolina.

Noss said that Ting has been able to apply the lessons learned in Charlottesville to other markets.

“The experience and people that we have acquired in Charlottesville have been crucial to helping these towns start to ramp,” Noss said. “But each town requires some of its unique, own unique efforts on staffing, government relations, public relations and more. So we've been giving Westminster and Holly Springs a lot of attention in recent months.”

The towns of Sandpoint, Idaho, and Centennial, Colorado, are still working on building their own municipal core fiber networks.

Noss said that “we will share more as we get closer to being able to build off these networks and start lighting up customers there.”

The service provider said it remains on track to achieve a 20% adoption amongst serviceable addresses in a year and 50% in five years. It expects that these take rates means it will have to pay $2,500 to $3,000 per customer and those customers will be worth about $1,000 a year in margin.

But providing FTTH services is just one part of Ting’s broader strategy. As it establishes a foothold with residential customers, the service provider will work to pursue what it calls “more profitable opportunities” with business customers.

“We've hired leadership for an enterprise sales team to work across all our Ting towns. They'll be working closely with our product, support, network and operations teams, to develop a high-end feature set, account management capabilities, and a service level agreement that puts us in a position to support large businesses, hospitals, college campuses, schools, government buildings and more.”

Full pipeline of targets

Ting may be in only a few markets today, but the service provider says that it has plenty of communities interested in working with them to provide services.

“Our pipeline of new potential Ting towns remains full,” Noss said. “We're excited about opportunities of all different sizes and shapes. We feel like we are being courted more than we are courting.”

However, Noss cautioned that since each community has its own rules and regulations, it has to work with local governments to understand how each community addresses permitting and rights of way.

“We are also dealing with governments, which tends to take time,” Noss said. “Our efforts so far on the ground have helped reinforce the core assumptions and metrics that I have shared on the Ting internet business.”