In the end, it all comes down to serving the customer. Remember the old axiom: “Customers don’t care how they get their HBO—they just know they want it”? Facing up to that reality is causing a growing number of cable TV system operators to move beyond old business paradigms and embrace the very technologies that used to be considered the exclusive property of their mortal enemies—namely satellite, fixed wireless and DSL.
In the past, if the network didn’t include coaxial cable as the last-mile delivery mechanism, cable operators were sure to eschew it. But because those very same cable operators are now under extreme pressure to deliver new services to existing customers, expand their subscriber bases and dramatically increase their revenues, they’re exploring ways to integrate wireless, and in a few extreme cases, digital subscriber line gear, into their plans.
As media giants like AT&T and AOL have bet their futures on the broadband industry, their chief technologists are rethinking their approaches to service delivery. While the addition of these new technologies might seem foreign, even unacceptable, to an industry that has historically been myopic, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the best way to deliver new services to a growing audience might require a network planner to step out of his comfort zone.
If it’s true that consumers don’t care how they get their TV, or telephone, or data service, then why should a cable operator care what technology platform he uses? The real challenge is going to be tying it all together.