Friday, May 20, 2005

Cable losing ground to DSL...well, duh!

I still follow my old world...broadband...and am still waiting for my prediction to come true: that cable will eventually lose to the telcos, despite there being no reason on earth that they should.

No reason except they doggedly refuse to extricate themselves from the "we're such a hot monopoly we could kill your dog, and you would still want cable service" attitude.

And I'm not making that up: I know some folks who have been in cable since the glory days of the 70s, and tell many a chilling tale about the behavior of cable companies and their techs. Including a story about killing a customer's dog because it kept getting in the tech's way. (OK, I'm sure he didn't intend to kill the dog...just stun it a little.) Meanwhile, the cusotmer had been waiting so long for the service to be hooked up they let the guy finish before kicking him out of their house!

Anyway, cable still thinks they not only have the upper hand...they think they have the only hand. And they don't know their customers at all. Customer who are used to getting more and more stuff for less and less. Why cable thinks people will literally pay double for internet service is beyond me.

And despite the numbers telling the story of telcos catching up, cable is still living in a dream world where "advanced services" are in desperate demand.

Add to their arrogance the fact that cable has so overused standards as a blunt instrument to artificially lower their costs, without caring that it also stifles innovation and you've got no new ideas coming out of the cable world.

When I left the industry in early 2003 Comcast was already almost a year late with their "widespread VoIP trials" and they have not delivered yet. And when they do talk about rolling out such services they talk about charging nearly $50 a month for it! Why on earth would anyone buy that? Between Skype, free long distance on my cell, and a cheap local service for that emergency service I think I'm all set, thanks though.

When they lose, cable will have only themselves to blame.

Once Verizon gets fiber to the doorstep (5 Mbps for $40/mo!), cable may very well be at the end of their useful lifespan.

It'll also spell the end of DSL as we know it, but you won't see me crying about that, either.

Elisa, I'm 100% with you on this prediction ... cable is on its way out and there's no way the cable companies can reinvent themselves to stop it.
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