by Paul S. Maxwell Price War? Maybe. Maybe not. Last week in lovely – but hot and steamy – San Antonio, Time Warner Cable’s Glenn Britt was adamant about competing on features, not price. (Although, of course, any pricing decisions are made in the real world.) As SBC, Bell South and others drop DSL pricing in an attempt to grab market share, the cable industry has a better idea: more features, better service, smarter bundling. During the opening panel at SCTE’s Cable-Tec Expo Tuesday, Glenn and I were joined by Cisco’s John Chambers and Arris’ Bob Stanzione for a look, from a CEO perspective, at the year ahead. Some consensus was reached: (Those are the right things to say at an SCTE meeting! These are the guys who make it happen.) Execution will have to center around the customer experience. To that point, Glenn made a surprising – and quite telling – observation. And as one of cable’s more financially oriented CEOs, Glenn’s point carries some weight. He said (my apologies, I’m paraphrasing): Most financial analysts would disagree, but I think I’m in favor of more truck rolls, especially when installing new boxes with new features and services. I think it is a better customer experience to be shown how to use it and what it does for you. Chambers – not disagreeing, but quick to tout features from a vendor’s perspective – discussed the ability of a customer to manage the services/features chosen. And, he did it via satellite from San Jose … seamlessly. (Kudos to Cisco and SCTE for the achievement.) Stanzione discussed standards and the accelerating trend toward providing a more uniform set of customer experiences across varying cable platforms. Glenn also addressed that, noting satellite’s advantage in having a "national footprint," in video at least. Later, during the CTO panel moderated by birthday-celebrating Leslie Ellis, Time Warner’s Mike Hayashi said "creating a national footprint for the three to four different businesses we now have" is one of our most challenging tasks. It was a terrific show … well attended, well run and well liked. Next year is Denver … and the next chair, Cox’s Chris Bowick, has his work cut out for him to top Time Warner’s Mike LaJoie. Random Notes:

The Daily


Vexus Opens Colorado City Doors

Vexus Fiber opened a retail store Tuesday in downtown Colorado City, Texas.

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