NTL Ireland and Chorus added 15,700 new customers in the first quarter of 2006 and the combined companies’ total Irish subscriber base now stands at 592,000. This is the first time that both companies’ results have been combined since their takeover by UPC Broadband last year.
The number of revenue-generating units in Ireland was higher still, at 624,100, which means that more than 30,000 Irish customers subscribed to more than one service, such as a combination of TV, broadband or telephony.
Individually, the combined entity now numbers 241,317 digital TV subscribers. This is a 15pc rise from the last quarter of 2005. The total figure breaks down as 162,000 cable and 115,900 MMDS subscribers. Some 313,200 customers still receive analogue TV.
Total broadband customers for the company are now 32,700, out of a possible 238,700 homes which can currently get a broadband connection. This translates to a jump of 30pc on the previous quarter and a total customer takeup of just over 13pc.
The results also reveal that the Irish operation still has some way to go to enable all of its customer premises to receive broadband, as the total number of homes passed stands at 895,100. In most other countries where UPC operates just about all of its subscribers’ homes can receive broadband.
UPC Broadband also confirmed in its statement that it plans to launch a voice over IP (VoIP) service later this year. A spokesperson for the company said that no date had been set for the VoIP launch. Similiarly, the company has not said publicly when it plans to introduce a high-definition TV service, but it has been confirmed that HD is part of the company’s rollout plan in Ireland.
UPC Broadband is a subsidiary of Liberty Global, which itself grew revenues by 38pc to US$1.63bn and improved its cash flow to US$527m during the quarter.
By Gordon Smith