If there is one sure way to set yourself up for failure, it’s to make New Year’s resolutions. We still eat too much, we don’t exercise enough, we continue to smoke and drink to excess, we procrastinate and, well, you fill in the rest of the blanks. This year, I want to concentrate on what broadband providers and their adjuncts can and should get accomplished in the next 12 months – my own version of the industry bucket list.
First, I want those investors and financial institutions to let loose of some cash. The mid-term elections are over, and there is nothing left for which to wait. Even Bill Clinton, sitting in for President Obama at a recent press conference aimed at pushing acceptance of new tax regulations, chided Wall Street for continuing to withhold funding that would help all businesses to move forward with plans to offer new services, to buy needed equipment and to hire more employees.
I also want all cable operators to finally bite the bullet and adopt an a la carte pricing scheme. Your customers want it and, now that there is more choice than ever in the marketplace for voice, video and data content, they will find another provider that will charge them only for what they consume.
Even though it will be hard to put the genie back into the bottle, high-speed Internet providers need to come up with a program of tiered pricing for those customers (business and residential) who use more bandwidth than the average Web surfer. The days of all-you-can-eat plans are almost over.
Why reinvent the wheel when you can have Pirellis or Michelins propelling you down the road? Partnerships, even those between historically strange bedfellows (like cable carriers and telcos/wireless operators) can be the key to entering a new arena. Operators can take some pointers from members of the Open Mobile Video Coalition, from DISH and Google, and from almost any managed-service provider that can make doing business a whole lot easier.
Many of you probably believe I’m taking a simplistic approach to the complicated business, financial and technological processes of change. But how hard can it be to approve a loan, change a marketing plan or work together for mutual bottom-line gains? This is not untested territory.
So before the broadband industry kicks the 2011 bucket some 365 days down the road, I want it to be able to say "been there, done that" as an agent of real forward momentum.