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Wireless connectivity will determine winners of broadband and streaming race, says Rutledge

As companies scramble to build fiber optic networks to capture market share in the increasingly competitive broadband market, Charter Communications President and CEO Tom Rutledge told an industry audience that wireless connectivity will separate the winners from the losers.

Speaking at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia+ Technology conference on Wednesday, Rutledge, when asked about the company’s competitive position against fixed wireless and fiber broadband competitors, said the combination of its broadband and mobile networks only strengthen it.

Charter is doing well in markets where it competes with fiber and fixed wireless broadband, Rutledge added. Its mobile network can deliver speeds of up to 1 Gigabit per second today, and could get even faster as more traffic is transferred from its Verizon MVNO to its own WiFi network, it said. he declares.

“We can have the fastest mobile product on the market,” Rutledge said. “Eighty percent of the bits are actually on the WiFi network and we have a pathway to put even more traffic on the WiFi network and to CBRS.”

He added that more and more business is going wireless – there are 450 million devices connected to Charter’s network and most are wireless – which also gives his business the edge over the competition.

“I think we have a competitive advantage there because we have advanced WiFi, we have a mobile product integrated with that, and even our future video product with the Xumo joint venture comes wireless,” Rutledge said. “We are moving into an environment where every device connected to our network is wireless.”

Charter entered into the JV with Comcast in April, where Comcast is licensing its Flex streaming platform as well as retailing its XClass televisions and streaming service Xumo. Charter will contribute $900 million over several years.

This partnership with Comcast could also give a boost to the video business, which continued to lose subscribers in the second quarter, but could be on the cusp of an evolution partly stimulated by the JV.

“I don’t think it’s on the verge of a precipitous collapse,” Rutledge said of the current video business, adding that subscriber reductions and cost increases will likely persist for the next few years. . But as the video industry shifts to an app-based model, the Comcast joint venture puts Charter in a strong position.

Also: Could Comcast and Charter’s new streaming platform be the launch pad for something bigger?

“I think this new platform that we’re developing with Comcast, the joint venture, gives us the opportunity to monetize video and use our customer relationships to push this platform deeper into the market and create a advertising activity and a transaction activity where we monetize the platform by helping direct-to-consumer media companies get more customers and collect fees for it, helping them sell the product,” Rutledge said. “The other opportunity that comes with that is advertising. As long as you get a big platform deployed and you have an audience, you can monetize that and get better CPMs because it’s targeted advertising. ■