Monday, June 28, 2010

Wired vs Wireless

A ton of investment has gone into building a wired broadband world by both cable and telco. But the rise of iPads, iPhones, Kindles, laptops, and other wireless devices has led to the explosive demand for wireless spectrum. The government may be listening. "The Obama administration is seeking to nearly double the wireless communications spectrum available for commercial use over the next 10 years, an effort that could greatly enhance the ability of consumers to send and receive video and data with smartphones and other hand-held devices."

Can cable benefit from this change in the entertainment landscape or will they find them going from the top of the perch to the bottom of the abyss. Knowing that the consumer wants their content wherever, whenever, means they must adapt to a changing need. Should cable buy a wireless player and finally offer a fourth package of services to co-exist with its other three - cable, phone, and broadband? Will both wire and wireless co-exist nicely so that the current plan remains the strategic direction? Or should cable be worried? "Cable companies that have invested heavily in wired telecommunications networks could also lose from the new direction."

Add this new wrinkle to the FCC desire to regulate broadband and trouble may indeed be brewing. As content finds its way from scrambled on the cable line to accessible via the internet, the consumer wants it when they want it. A great example remains the World Cup where viewers watched on both wire and wireless devices. As wireless becomes faster and more abundant, consumers will seek this higher ground. Wire may need to be worried.

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