Well, it’s here, so let’s make it a happy one! We’ve been writing about things to come, to watch out for, to avoid and to pray never happens. We’ve also been reading everyone else’s predictions for the coming year. (Note: I like Tom Eagan’s going out a limb with ten events he says – hopes – will actually happen.) And we can’t stop now! Was riding up a chair lift with our good friend John Goddard (something we both do with some frequency) talking about how Wall Street was finally (well, some of them and the market as a whole so far) waking up to the fact that telco entry into competing with cable is fraught with dangers when John noted, correctly, I think, that the "day Verizon switches its phone customers over to the full fiber network will be the day they have the most phone customers … think about it," John said, "they’ll have a growing cost-per- customer overhead from day one!" John’s point: cable’s full-court press on VoIP is going to be a winner. And another thing: the dissatisfaction that was cable’s Achilles heel when DTH launched is no longer true. Subscribers to both cable and satellite are by and large content, if not happy or satisfied. The pool of customers potentially willing to shift just isn’t as big as it was 12 years ago. But, be careful. Don’t depend too much on inertia to save your bacon. at&t’s plans cost less … But, watch, Wall Street will, especially just after the NCTA, punish the telcos big time. (Let’s just hope Wall Street doesn’t punish us all in ’06.) CES is happening in Las Vegas this week and, for the first time in more than 20 years, I’m NOT there. (I’ve gone skiing.) Even though I’m not there, a number of cable folks will be … including reps from CableFAX, CableWORLD and CT looking around at all the "stuff" … especially at what’s going to make an impact on your bottom line a couple years hence. Worth paying attention; a number of years ago I stumbled across a PC card that allowed for digitally copying TV programs … TiVo and Replay and EchoStar showed up with DVRs the following year. Meanwhile, some worrisome news just before New Year’s Eve in USA TODAY with a survey showing satisfaction with Hi-Def sets drops after the first year … badly. Why? Confusion, mostly. What to do about that? Ah, talk to your friends at NCTA … legislation (other than a firm transition date to digital) would be a bad thing mandating definitions and deliverables … But, marketplace confusion isn’t to be ignored. It’s the one thing that could bite us all badly. It’s a very good thing cable is (finally these past couple of years) taking CES seriously … it’s just too bad the Western Show (and the $s raised to fight the good fight in California’s legislature) had to be sacrificed first. Let’s hope those cable operators touring the floors will go home and try to hook up all the stuff they see … and then see if: (1) they can, and (2) it works with cable. Which brings me to this week’s final prediction: Broadband will be cable’s driving force for the next 10 years … and that includes video over IP.