The answer to that one cannot be printed in a "family" publication. Although I honestly believe too many cable operators have … surrendered their base to the pirates from the sky using "cable" networks to steal subscribers. Just look at it … Last quarter, sky-pirates stole/added 780,000 new subscribers, while cable operators lost almost 300,000 basic subs. In fact, CAB reports cable has lost almost 900,000 subs in the first seven months of this year. Why? From the analyst calls, a number of cable operators are saying (whining?), "Why not?" After all, revenue is up. Even some are reporting that magic word: profits. Even revenue generating units (now, ain’t that a really personalized way to look at a customer base?). "So what’s the problem?" many seem to ask. See that word at the top of this column? That’s the damn problem. Why would any business sacrifice its base? DBS isn’t just picking up cable’s bad debt disconnects (though that does account for more than a few). When DBS launched, cable scoffed. Ain’t that way now. Before compression, DBS = Don’t Be Silly. But a post-compression, post-analog world is trumping basic cable – even cable with a plethora of tiers – badly. The numbers do not lie. It Done Be Serious, ya’ll. So, what to do about it? (Thought you’d never ask.) First, panic. Second, think. Three, do a little research and put the problem in an historical perspective. To help with that … here’s what we at CableFAX are doing for you. First, our editors and reporters are putting together a White Paper to place cable’s packaging in historical context. Put another way: we’re chronicling how laws, regulations and Federal mandates dictated practices … and their unintended consequences. Second, we’ve got crack research folks in the field taking a look at what "subscribing" to "video products" means to real people – not those of us in the industry. Third, we’re hosting, in Saint Petersburg at the Don CeSar Resort at the end of October (27- 29 … right after budgets and just before the election) the 2nd CableFAX Leaders’ Retreat to unveil (pre-publication) the research and the data and see if we can’t jump-start a discussion on how cable might best regroup and re-conquer the basic (and better) subscriber against the DTH onslaught. So, if you’re a lucky and receive an invitation, call us ASAP (it’s filling up fast). While I don’t think we’ll come up with the answers in just a couple of days, I know we’ll help the industry begin to think through a better way to avoid that ugly word at the top of this page. Random Notes

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Verizon, NYC Reach Settlement

Verizon has an agreement with New York City that settles proceedings against it after the city claimed it had failed to meet buildout terms for its Fios network under its cable franchise agreement.

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