Could you feel the love at The Cable Show last week? According to Sanford Bernstein analyst Craig Moffett, cable leaders speaking at the opening session nearly "held hands and sang Kumbaya."
And, according to sister publication CableFAX, execs reiterated yesterday at the Guggenheim Media Symposium Conference that cable loves broadband despite concerns about over-the-top (OTT) competition and the fact that much of the industry’s wireless offerings lack a voice component.
“We’re the deliverer… the anchor tenant in the mall,” said Charter President and CEO Mike Lovett, arguing that Netflix and others help drive broadband adoption.
Cablevision COO Tom Rutledge agreed, stressing cable’s deep relationship with broadband subscribers while calling Netflix a boost for high-speed data in the near term and an a la carte video service farther down the road. And even if broadband speed bumps from operators engender better OTT experiences for consumers, said Time Warner Cable President/COO Rob Marcus, “with increased utility comes an increased willingness to pay.”
TWC and Cablevision view Wi-Fi through a similar lens (the former also citing mobile broadband), and they don’t see wireless voice as an imperative.
“I see voice on wireless becoming less and less of a player,” said Rutledge. Added Marcus, "Despite contrary protestations from telcos, service bundles with a wireless voice component aren’t competitively relevant.”
Lovett contends the communications industry is “less about voice and more about providing connectivity,” and that it remains unconcerned that Charter currently offers fixed broadband only. The MSO saw non-video subscribers jump 20 percent in the first quarter, and he said that pace has accelerated in recent months, owing largely to broadband’s new starring role in Charter’s consumer messaging.
All three execs believe cable is taking away broadband share from the telcos, and Lovett noted any growth for telcos in mobile broadband and/or voice “proffers cable huge cell backhaul opportunities.” Moreover, cable’s robust plant is allowing for rollouts of such innovative IP-based services as iPad apps and network DVRs.
“It’s really an attractive world we’re about to enter,” said Rutledge. Next month, Cablevision will expand its iPad app to iPhones and iPod Touches to let all three devices tune even legacy TVs without Web functionality. (For more, see Despite Setbacks, iPad Cable App Deployment Continues).