TOP STORIES

Sign Up for Weekly Blog Updates
* = required field

Competition Works. You Win.

April 7, 2008

The cable industry has spent more than $100 billion since the Telecommunications Act of 1996 to create the most extensive and robust broadband network found in America. This robust technology platform now passes more than 117 million households with high-speed Internet Service, serves 65 million households with video services, and provides telephone service to 15 million customers.

Digital Phone

Consumers now have access to more competition than ever thanks to cable. Digital telephone service provides consumers with a true alternative to standard telephone service. While some cable operators have offered traditional circuit-switched telephone service for years, most are now offering digital phone service. This service often comes as part of a “bundle” where multichannel video, high-speed Internet and voice services are offered as a package and billed in a single invoice, providing a better value and more simplicity for customers.Through the use of software, digital phone service provides all the functionality of the public switched telephone network (PSTN), while making possible new features not available through traditional telephone service, such as Web portals that allows customers to review their calling history or listen to voicemail messages online when away from home. Digital phone service is a revolutionary technology that has the potential to completely change how phone calls are made and how voice services are used.

More Video Choices

Cable’s digital video services generally include hundreds of channels, high definition TV (HDTV), Video-on-Demand (VOD), Digital Video Recorders (DVRs), Interactive Program Guides (IPGs), Enhanced TV services (ETV, including web access), and commercial free, CD-quality music channels. Cable companies are aggressively deploying HDTV nationwide. By March 2007, 100 million U.S. television households were passed by at least one cable system offering HDTV service, which represents all of the top 100 designated market areas (DMAs). Of all DMAs, a total of 209 markets (out of 210) were served by at least one cable system that offers high-definition programming. Local cable systems also were carrying the digital signal of 999 unique broadcast stations in March 2007, nine-and-a-half times the amount in January 2003, when 92 such stations were carried, and national cable program networks currently offer 66 channels in high definition.

Lightning Fast Internet

Cable’s hybrid fiber-coaxial infrastructure provides 35.6 million cable modem customers with high-speed access to the Internet. With downloads speeds reaching up to 50 Mbps, cable’s broadband can’t be touched by the telco’s DSL offering and other services from the phone companies are only available in very limited areas. The cable industry also has developed standards to make interoperable, nonproprietary cable modems available through retail stores.

Competition Works. Consumers Win.

Competition has provided consumers with more choice, and more savings. Cable competes every day for voice, video and broadband customers. We take the competitive marketplace seriously which explains why we have the most video customers, the most broadband customers, are adding millions of voice customers every year, and in 2007 lead the J.D. Power and Associates customer satisfaction rankings for telephone services in all six US regions.

Because cable competes, you win.

  • Greg Rachocki

    This site is a April fools joke right? All this is marketing spin. There is no competition and the cable industry tries to ensure that while holding comsumers hostages with lousy and overpriced services.

  • Ross

    Greg – your comment isn’t going to last long. Of course they reserve the right to delete comments, but anything vaguely negative goes bye-bye faster than FIOS.

  • Julio Grajales

    Interesting the cable industry is using the open environment of the internet… to pursue a closed argument of the cable industry… how can something “cable services” exist by itself in many markets with a monopolizing attitude and be competitive… no cable industry you want to be open and honest and competitive this is what you do… if there is no competition for your services in a particular market dont hike up the prices, don’t use million dollar advertising campaigns to lure ppl to services that can be provided by many companies, dirt cheap I might add, through the open internet. Open up your cable boxes to developers of all kinds, there are many streams of revenue that the internet has created. These new streams of revenue has been created not by your blitz ad campaigns but by the people, small business, individual pioneers of the internet… so please when you continue to increase your prices for the same type of service, I don’t see where we have advanced much by way of telecommunications. So instead of spending millions of dollars on ads, add a la carte services, add a triple or quadruple play for under $100 a month with no contracts… add the ability for individuals to use one box for everything phone, cable and internet and maintain control of only maintaining my service and not capitalizing on my privacy that you deem so easily to share with who ever is the highest bidder. thank you

  • John Doe

    Hey guys your contact us form is not working!

    Looks like a captcha problem.

  • http://cabletechtalk.com Turk

    John Doe – Thanks. We’ll look into it.

    Julio – I think you’ll find the cable industry has a long history of opening things up. The DOCSIS cable modem standard was opened and allowed the proliferation of a wide range of choices for connecting via cable broadband. You suggest we open cable boxes, but that suggestion is a bit late. Tru2Way (formerly known as the Open Cable Application Protocol) has been in development for several years and a number of applications for accessing it have been on display at past Cable Shows. The industry has even held developer conferences around our annual show for the purpose of working with the development community to build applications for the open platform.

    I’m also a fan of having one box for everything with built in wi-fi. I talked with a couple of the set-top manufacturers at CES this year and asked if that’s in development. They all indicated it could be done, but may be cost prohibitive for a lot of consumers. As the set-top box market develops new tru2way products, you might see something like that, though.

    Greg – It’s a blog hosted and developed by the cable industry to discuss developments in and around the telecom space. Why would you expect that it would not include efforts to tell our industry’s side of the story? It clearly indicates its an industry property. We have nothing to hide.

  • InKable

    As a consumer, with a long relationship with cable, the last thing that I want is cable controlling the operating system software embedded in devices like TVs. OCAP is controlled by CableLabs, a consortium of US cable companies. This gives the cable companies too much leverage over what, when and how applications and content will be delivered. No thanks. In FIOS, Verizon has avoided the cable company’s strategy of proprietary lock on technology by using IP transport instead for communication back to the video head-end server. Cable is not about competition, Cable is about maintaining its monopoly market.

  • Michael Turk

    InKable –

    To be clear, CableLabs establishes standards for cable equipment and invests in research in much the same way Bell Labs does for the phone companies.

    When you move from city to city or state to state, you want to be sure the equipment you have purchased will work with your new provider. The whole idea behind the standards based system is to allow you to move from a city served by Comcast or Cox to one served by Charter or Time Warner with the comfort of knowing your TV or set-top will work on any of those networks. Just as you can with cable modems today.

    I can’t imagine taking issue with an organization that exists to create standards or invent new products or services for your enjoyment.

    Will different cable systems provide different applications over their networks? Probably. In exactly the same way they negotiate for the channels they carry, they will negitiate contracts to provide applications for their customers. Just as not every cable network carries all the same channels, there will likely be a variance in the applications they provide.

  • Bill

    My cable service sucks… I complained to the FCC, and Time Warner told me my cable was as good as they can get it, and it will never get better.
    Cable has not improved in my area. They are not doing anything for my community.
    They like telling everybody all the good things they do, but they cant provide reliable TV signal or bandwidth.
    The Cable industry should be regulated and controlled, as they have NO oversite by anybody now.

  • Bentley

    I agree with competition but do we as consumers really have a choice? I have but one provider, one who throttle’s traffic and charges extremely high rates for less HD channels then the competitors, of which I cannot get. True market competition would allow me to select from at least two or three providers.

    The internet service is fair, but not great. I’ve seen FIOS in action and it’s top notch. There isn’t throttling of protocols, there isn’t slowdown during peak usage hours and no overselling of nodes in a neighborhood. It’s also a little misleading to state you can provide up to 50 Mbs when it’s only available to a select few. In able to get the service I believe I deserved I have to pay more for a small business account.

    I don’t have phone service because of the price, other options are cheaper and I can call overseas for free.

  • http://ditzler.blogspot.com Wyatt Ditzler

    Hello Michael, it has been quite some time. Glad to see you are all back in the swing of things.

    The competition is a troubling aspect of cable companies. Why not allow different companies common carriage on networks? Similar to, but hopefully not as messy as, the telephone system. Seeking your initial thoughts…

    Cheers,
    Wyatt

  • Michael

    One hates to pile on, but as the first poster said, this blog has to be an April Fool’s joke, right?

    I was going to say some rather unkind things here (e.g., it being a good thing that medical professionals are not held to the same ethical standards public relations professionals are), but I thought better of it.

    I will only say that I don’t expect to post comments to this blog often–it hardly seems worth the effort to point out the glaring inaccuracies and distortions in such an apparently and fundamentally disengenuous endeavor–but I promise to come back from time to time for a good chuckle.

  • Michael Turk

    Michael,

    If you believe there are inaccuracies in the information, feel free to share your opinion. I’m more than happy to discuss them. If you’d rather e-mail me directly, my direct e-mail is on the contributor page.

    Wyatt –

    Good to be back in the swing, thanks. Had a couple of projects that kept me from writing as much as I would like.

    As for common carriage, I really don’t think that’s a good solution.

    Common carriage stifles innovation and investment in network infrastructure because nobody wants to put a hundred billion dollars into a network that they then must give to competitors at bargain basement prices. That’s part of the reason DSL took so long to come to market while cable flourished. We did not have to live with common carriage regulation the way the telcos did.

    Cable internet was considered a data service not a telecommunications service by the FCC. That classification was upheld by the Supreme Court in the Brand X decision in 2005. Cable Internet was not subject to those restrictions and cable companies invested heavily in infrastructure.

    That’s why the argument that common carriage was the law of the land for the Internet until recently is simply not true. If you look at the market share of high speed lines, more than half of them were never covered by common carriage.

    And now the telcos are investing heavily to compete with cable because freeing the market to spur investment and innovation does more for competition than common carriage.

  • http://www.airsoftunity.de/profile.php?mode=viewprofile&u=244137 Wilson Shunk

    I’m constantly searching on the web for articles which could help me. Seeking forward to yet another good blog. Fantastic luck to the author! all of the ideal!