SureWest results flat – with broadband boost

SureWest Communications’ broadband Internet business keeps growing and its telephone business keeps shrinking.

The result was a third quarter that was essentially flat.

The Roseville telecommunications company said Thursday that its third-quarter loss widened to $211,000 from $101,000 a year earlier. The increased loss was mainly due to higher depreciation costs. Per-share loss doubled to 2 cents.

Steve Oldham, SureWest’s president and chief executive, applauded the results in light of a weak economy. “Quite good considering the circumstances,” he said on a conference call with investment analysts.

Revenue fell 1 percent to $59.5 million. Broadband sales grew 11 percent while telephone revenue, the legacy of SureWest’s old Roseville Telephone operation, declined 19 percent.

Traditional landline telephone companies have struggled in recent years as the wireless industry grows.

Broadband accounted for about two-thirds of SureWest’s revenue in the quarter, and the company plans to roll out a new video-on-demand service in December in the Sacramento area.

SureWest also competes in the Kansas City area.

Results were announced after the stock market closed. SureWest shares closed at $9.91, up 21 cents, on the Nasdaq market.

– Dale Kasler