Broadlogic announced a chip today that provides a high density solution for converting Digital Cable TV channels to Analog. It’s a slick solution but I don’t think it will see mass adoption. Here’s why.
Everyone agrees fixed line is a dying, low margin business. Yet Cablecos like Comcast (CMCSA), Cablevision (CVC), Shaw (SJR), and Time Warner (TWX) are feverishly trying to capture market share in this business. Why?
The WSJ today has an exclusive look (free version of article here) at a report to be released by CableLabs that outlines the potential need for cablecos to undertake a massive infrastructure upgrade in order to stay competitive. Unfortunately, the report is not yet available to non CableLabs members,
though we would sure like to get our hands on one (HINT HINT HINT) and CableLabs has informed me it never will be.
The report, which has been reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, warns that at present growth rates cable operators’ existing technology may not be able to compete efficiently with Verizon on Internet services. “At some point, optimization of the (cable) network becomes more expensive than simply deploying” fiber directly to homes, the report warns.
Businessweek writes about T-mobile and a new service they are rolling out using UMA phones (dual GSM/WiFi). These new mobile phones make use of the WiFi network and broadband connection in a users home to make phone calls off the GSM or cellular network.
Contrary to popular opinion, the real threat to the baby bells residential phone business is not the cableco’s VoIP but wireless substitution. Competition from cell phones was eating away at residential lines long before the cablecos began deploying voice services.
Most baby bells already have a wireless infrastructure. None of the cablecos do. This is why the Baby Bells ultimately have the upper hand over the cableco in the battle for residential subscribers. They can migrate their customers (and their phone numbers) to a wireless infrastructure, and Comcast (CMCSA) / Cablevision (CVC) /Time Warner (TWX) cannot. Comcast can migrate customers to Sprint/Nextel (S ), but without owning the infrastructure they won’t extract maximum value.
Wireless is the commanding heights and the most important infrastructure to own and operate in a voice network. Everything else is a commodity.