Not satisfied with the revenue from their core business, the majority of broadband providers these days are eager to do everything but actually provide bandwidth. Cable providers want to be phone companies, phone companies want to be TV companies, and almost all of them are expanding into the content creation business. Investors are nervous about the stretch, and there's been plenty of people in the industry who have complained that things like portals are a waste of revenue that could be spent elsewhere. Nokia's CEO claims there's a brewing existential crisis in the industry, with some people at carriers starting to think that instead of trying to be YouTube, they should leave content to the more svelte innovators and focus on actually running a network. It sounds like those voices still aren't very loud, however, as the reality is that most incumbent cable and phone providers are doing the exact opposite. Because the biggest fear among many ISP execs is becoming a "dumb pipe" provider and missing out on the kind of revenues they're seeing at Google, don't expect an industry sea change anytime soon. Incumbent broadband providers will likely continue trying to be jacks of all trades, potentially doing none of them particularly well -- at the expense of their core connectivity offering.
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