Cable and Telecom Futures: Got Pipe?

More than twenty years ago, the cutting edge of technology was selling the future of TV and the phone lines. The big attraction then was being able to see each other’s lovely face while talking. None of us believed cable would have made it into the nineties, no less where it is today. It’s been obsolete for decades, only, propped up with political chicanery. Good thing the Internet came along as looking at one another is no big deal to most folks, compared to the ultimate package, which will eliminate much of the shareholder’s equity in cable companies selling movies and TV sitcoms. I don’t even see how a Netflix lasts much longer, and I don’t see Apple owning this piece, but hey, I still visit the local movie rental. Though, often just for their popcorn.

From Gizmodo:  “With the debate on net neutrality in full swing in the US, we’ve been hearing about Bandwidth Hogs again. ‘Bandwidth Hog‘ is a sound bite that conveys a strong emotion: you can virtually see the fat pig chomping on the bandwidth, pushing back all the other animals in the barnyard with his fat pig shoulders all the while scrutinizing with his shiny piggy eyes to see if the farmer isn’t around…”

Today folks are learning quickly how to get around paying for TV by downloading movies and burning them on to a disk and sitcoms can be had in all sorts of ways. Sports shows are evolving rapidly and it won’t be long before you’ll be able to see any event that is taped anywhere in the world. Remember that old Qwest commercial that was so well done: Anything you want, anytime you want it! Or something to that affect. Waiting for Godot?
Back in April, CNN quoted a Yankee Group report that said “the result of a survey of pay-TV operators and more than 6,000 U.S. consumers, found that many will choose to drop premium channels or cut their service down to a basic package, while others will choose to cut off their service completely.”

“A cutting-the-cord trend has been the subject of speculation for some time, as networks have increasingly made television programming available for free on the Internet. But a combination of other factors, including a growing number of battles between cable companies and networks, soaring Internet video viewings and an increase in connected TVs and devices, suggest the trend is finally upon us.”

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Politicians of every stripe have milked the cable and phone companies – at the consumer’s expense. I doubt anyone is innocent of that. I’m tired of saying this is just around the corner, as it’s been hanging out there long enough. The stakes are as high as you can imagine on these futures. The transition from what we have now to the future is not what I would have hoped to see, but surely not unexpected. The telecom industry is standing on wires and rubber bands and most of these big companies haven’t a plan on what happens when their main source of revenue evaporates completely.

We’re not getting smarter about using technology, but the incredible smart phone crazed global markets are now driving, though not intentionally. No one imagines everyone watching feature films on their phone, but using your phone to capture anything you want, then plugging into a monitor anywhere is pretty much where we are now. And you can get almost anything you want off the Internet or through peer-to-peer networks. That is why so much is going into monitoring and things like throttling. The estimates for how much data that will be pushed over the Bittorrents of the world has incredible potential to wreck the entire telecom/cable sector.

The only company we see that has the smarts to get this job done is Amazon. Bezos has always reasoned he would become the Main Street of shopping, and he has the vision to make it work. But before the dust settles, blood will be let and most of it, hopefully, only the Wall Street kind. Companies with their ass on the line today know well that their tent could get folded overnight. Check out this article and let us know where you see it and how you see this game unfolding.

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