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Altice plans investment to ramp up future internet speeds

Dexter Goei, CEO and chairman of Altice USA,

Dexter Goei, CEO and chairman of Altice USA, left, and Patrick Drahi, founder of Altice N.V. The cable company plans to expand its Optimum fiber network to increase the speed of internet service. Credit: Altice

Altice USA plans to increase substantially the speed of its Optimum internet service over the next five years by expanding its fiber network on Long Island, in New York City and in 19 other states.

Executives announced Wednesday morning that the project will eventually enable internet speeds of up to 10 gigabits per second.

Optimum’s fastest current speeds are 300 megabits per second for homes and 350 megabits per second for businesses. A thousand megabits equal one gigabit.

The initiative will be the largest investment made by Bethpage-based Altice USA since its parent, Altice N.V., purchased Cablevision Systems Corp. in June for $17.7 billion, according to Altice USA spokeswoman Lisa Anselmo.

The project, which starts next year, will also include Suddenlink, an Altice USA unit with operations in the South and West.

Anselmo declined to provide the initiative’s cost but said it would be paid for with “efficiency savings” as Altice continues to integrate its Cablevision and Suddenlink operations.

Altice USA CEO Dexter Goei said the construction of a “full-scale fiber-to-home network” would position the company “to support our customers’ needs well into the future” including more streaming of video and audio content.

Goei noted that Altice N.V., which is based in the Netherlands, is installing similar networks in France and Portugal. “We are pleased to bring our expertise stateside,” he said in a statement.

Anselmo said the project would involve the “last mile to the home” because Optimum already uses fiber in many places.

“With a significant amount of aerial work we don’t expect disruption to our customers, but they will see more of our trucks present,” she said.

Altice plans to announce where the project will begin in coming months. The company owns 25 percent of Newsday Media Group.

Anselmo said Altice is the first U.S. cable television company to install the technology to this extent. Verizon’s FiOS internet service has long touted its use of fiber.

Altice doesn’t disclose the number of customers that it has locally. In June, Cablevision said it had about 3 million subscribers of cable, broadband and digital telephone services in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania.

Altice’s investment “will help drive economic growth across the region and provide 21st century high-tech services to our businesses and residents,” said Kevin Law, president of the Long Island Association business group.

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