For U.S. Cable TV Operators, Opportunities Also Bring Challenges

Posted by Mae Kowalke on Friday, April 08, 2016 with No comments

The largest U.S. cable TV operators (among them Comcast, Time Warner, and Cablevision)
had a good year during 2015, collectively gaining 3.3 million broadband internet accounts, representing 106 percent of high speed internet service customer additions nationwide for all types of providers (including telcos). That's according to a recent IP Carrier blog post citing Leichtman Research Group findings. What accounts for this increase? What does it mean for cable operators? For telcos?

IP Carrier blogger Gary Kim noted that 2015 was the first year telcos ever had a net loss (in this case, about 185,000) of high speed access accounts. (For AT&T and Verizon, this isn't such a big deal; they're making up the difference with new fiber-access accounts.) Telcos also experienced a net loss of all-copper DSL lines during 2015.

Obviously, competition is putting pressure on telcos, driving home the importance of network upgradeseven though, as Kim pointed out, often next-gen services and products replace existing ones without netting significant revenue gains. 

So, on the whole, this seems like good news for cable TV operators, and bad news for telcos. But, in such a competitive market, cable companies are under pressure to quickly leverage the opportunity they're faced with, and figuring out how to best do that is no easy task.

At Light Reading's Cable Next-Gen Technologies and Strategies event earlier this year, it was obvious that even as they find success in the broadband market, cable operators are grappling with big strategy topics, including:

  • Providing Gigabit-level internet speeds
  • Balancing DOCSIS and fiber technologies
  • Responding to regulatory changes
  • The impact of provider consolidation
  • The evolution of bandwidth management
  • Ensuring network, cloud, and data center security
  • Virtualizing cable architecture

2016 will be an interesting year. 


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