On any given day, I peruse hundreds of press releases and research reports related to the broadband field. When a reporter sifts through that much information, he or she is bound to come up with some news that flat-out goes against everything that’s been written, touted or predicted. So, here are a few things I thought to be true prior to this week and some reasons as to why they may not be what they seem.
 

What Seemed To Be True (Mostly)

Not So Fast…

The digital-TV transition got most people in the United States off analog TV and either onto a converter box or into digital cable subscription.

Over-the-air digital TV is the new basic cable, according to antenna manufacturer Antennas Direct in St. Louis, which added, “Digital TV is the new disruptive technology. This year, we are on pace to liberate nearly 1 million Americans from an unhappy relationship with their pay-TV provider while putting over $1.1B annually back in the pockets of our customers.” The company reported $8.7M in 2010 revenue and forecasts $21M in 2011 revenue, where sales were up 225 percent in the first quarter.

All these productivity-enhancing tools (laptops, crackberries, smartphones, iPads and Wi-Fi) really have made us work even more because we’re always connected, and that’s why we have no down time at home.

According to CIO Insight, Americans workers now have a 24/7 addiction to the job and technology. One CIO said his network team had discovered a sharp secondary peak in daily VPN traffic, extending roughly from 8 p.m. to midnight on most weeknights. Were employees burning the midnight oil to keep up with job demands? No. Most admitted they were logging on "because it’s a more appealing use of my time than any other activity that is available to me." That’s pretty sad, when you think about it.

Giving away stimulus cash to new and existing broadband providers will increase competition, create new services and get high-speed Internet to everyone who wants it.

True in many cases, but some applicants ended up returning their hard-won cash to the feds because they didn’t like some of the strings that were attached and other projects, according to a newly released NCTA study, were financed in three areas where broadband services and competition already were established. Some, however, question whether 3G coverage should be considered “broadband.”

Lower-income and elderly individuals and families still are dependent on wireline telephony, subsidized heavily by the government.

In eight states — Arkansas and Mississippi, Colorado, Idaho, Kentucky, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon and Texas – at least 30 percent of adults use cellphones only, and most subscribers cite financial reasons.

Cablecos are in line to suffer deep, unhealable financial pain due to cord cutting, attributable to: more devices capable of streaming or caching video; more content available online; and the inability of MSOs to provide programming when, where and on which device the viewer wants at any given time. 

SNL Kagan researchers say cable, satellite and telecom carriers combined lost some 335,000 subscribers in the middle of 2010. However, they added back 65,000 subs in 4Q10, ending the year with slightly more than 100 million users (more than either 3Q09 and 4Q09).  On one hand, SNL Kagan projects that “more stable macroeconomic conditions will guide the way for absolute video sub adds if not gains in penetration.” On the other, it admits, “The greater underlying issue remains more screens and alternative platforms competing for users’ attention than ever before. The changing content landscape impacts the potential pool of video subs negatively, so we expect intra-multichannel competition to escalate while video penetration rates decline over the long term.”

 
Go figure.

Debra Baker is editor of Communications Technology magazine. Follow her on Twitter @CTInsider.

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