by Mike Masnick

Telcos Falling Farther Behind Cable In Broadband?

from the and-yet...-they-want-to-hold-up-fiber? dept

The ongoing battle between telcos and cablecos for broadband dominance seems to be one where it's much easier to note the mistakes than the successes. A new report is saying that telcos are falling even further behind cable -- which, if true, would suggest that the telcos have squandered a golden opportunity. It's not clear that it's true, though. Other studies have shown that the cheaper price and aggressive advertising practices by telcos have helped them close the gap with cable providers, who were first out of the gate in the US with broadband offerings. Of course, part of the problem is that the telcos still don't trust DSL. They never wanted to offer it to consumers initially, and only did so when they felt forced to by cable offerings -- even if DSL is now what's keeping them alive. However, the cheap DSL prices aren't really that cheap and the forced bundling with local telephone lines makes the problem even worse. People are willing to buy cheap broadband -- but all of the strings attached mean that it's just as easy to go with cable -- the supposedly "expensive" provider. Add into that equation the fact that at least some cable providers are realizing that by offering VoIP for next to nothing they can steal away more telco customers, and the telcos need to do something. Right now, it appears their focus is on fiber, fiber and more fiber -- but it makes you wonder if they really would have been able to get away with denying fiber to certain locations if they didn't get the regulatory changes they wanted. If cable were eating their lunch, suddenly fiber would look better, no matter what the regulatory environment.

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