Altice USA spinning off tech workers for fiber deployment

Altice CEO Dexter Goei (left) and founder Patrick Drahi (right). Image: Brian Stanton/Altice

Altice USA will spin off technical workers into a new company as it executes an earlier-announced ambitious five-year plan to deploy fiber to the home across its footprint. 

As first reported by Multichannel News, the plan is already drawing criticism from the Communications Workers of America. The union fears the spinoff is a means for Altice to avoid a regulatory agreement with New York State officials, who stipulated that in order to purchase Cablevision for $17.7 billion, Altice wouldn’t lay any customer-effacing workers off. 

RELATED: Altice shuns DOCSIS 3.1, sets ambitious 5-year FTTH deployment plan

But according to Multichannel News, the newly coined “Altice Technical Services” will include Altice USA’s field service, construction & fiber, design, outside plant maintenance, inside-plant and field-based employees serving commercial accounts.

However, Altice noted that its tech workers have the option to remain with the mother ship. (If they do join the spin-off, they can choose to have the same compensation or migrate to a more incentive-oriented plan). Further, Altice said it has already structured its fiber deployments in France and Portugal this way. 

RELATED: Report: Cablevision workers unhappy with Altice’s penny-pinching ways

"As we embark on our mission to build a next-generation fiber-to-the-home network capable of incredibly fast broadband speeds and superior service quality, we are excited to establish Altice Technical Services USA," Altice said in a statement. "This dedicated U.S. company comprised of our skilled technical workforce will provide Altice USA with the support and technical expertise required as we accelerate our investments in our networks and customer experience. The company has communicated to employees and has discussed with the PSC that both Altice USA and Altice Technical Services USA will honor all the regulatory commitments agreed to with the states, and we believe this model will provide employees with career growth and advancement opportunities as we build our fiber network. ”

RELATED: Altice USA chief Dexter Goei puts down $31M on Greenwich home amid Cablevision austerity

Late last month, Altice USA announced that it will eschew the cable-industry standard of upgrading its network to DOCSIS 3.1 standards, instead choosing to achieve next-generation gigabit speeds with an ambitious, five-year fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) rollout.

Altice—the nation’s fourth-largest cable operator following its acquisitions of Suddenlink and Cablevision earlier this year—said it will extend fiber deeper into its existing hybrid fiber coax (HFC) network, leveraging “cost-cutting and proprietary technologies” developed in its European research facilities, Altice Labs.