If AT&T had nicer 3G operators to compete with, it would surely be out of business by now. After a huge PR disaster created by the last terms of service revision, it’s decided to come back for more:
Sometime in the past 24 hours, AT&T changed the TOS again:
This means, by way of example only, that checking email, surfing the Internet, downloading legally acquired songs, and/or visiting corporate intranets is permitted, but downloading movies using P2P file sharing services, redirecting television signals for viewing on Personal Computers, web broadcasting, and/or for the operation of servers, telemetry devices and/or Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition devices is prohibited.
This is a company that already limits users’ consumption of bandwidth (it has a 5 GB cap). (Save the Internet)
It would seem that the death star loves selling the cute little fruitphone on a long, overpriced contract as long as they can keep subscribers from using it very much. While alternatives are limited, they do exist. No handset is worth so much trouble.
After discovering its customers won’t accept a price increase for the bandwidth they are already getting, Time Warner cable may be willing to do a few upgrades after all.
Confirming reports we’ve heard from Cisco engineers familiar with the deployments, Time Warner Cable is already testing DOC 3.0 gear in NYC, which appears to be their only launch market in 2009:In advance of our launch of DOCSIS 3.0 we have installed new CMTS equipment in Manhattan. To date, we have been testing at speeds as high as 138 down and 18 up. The system works great. We don’t expect to offer speeds this fast initially but this demonstrates we will be fully capable of meeting our customer’s need for speed for the foreseeable future.
NYC coverage will begin this summer and “completed by year-end,” says Hobbs. The carrier says that further DOCSIS 3.0 deployments will be “surgical” in nature. That’s code for targeting areas where the company faces competition from Verizon FiOS, and can’t get away with nursing last-generation infrastructure. According to Hobbs, the company faces telcoTV competition in 22% of its footprint; 15% AT&T U-Verse and 7% Verizon FiOS. (DSL Reports)
From how I read this, Time Warner only plans to deploy DOCSIS 3 in areas where they anticipate subscriber flight to a competitor. Over the last year, that technology has become both cheap and easy to implement. Rather than being selective, Time Warner could get a nice revenue bump by offering the service system wide. If the do, they’ll discover that heavy net users will flock to them and happily pay a premium for the priviledge. That may not be as much fun as bullying its customers into paying more for less in its uncompetitive markets, but it will boost the bottom line just as effectively.
In an article that reads like the world is facing impending doom, a Times Online article forecasts internet “brownouts” or worse in the near future.
Experts predict that consumer demand, already growing at 60 per cent a year, will start to exceed supply from as early as next year because of more people working online and the soaring popularity of bandwidth-hungry websites such as YouTube and services such as the BBC’s iPlayer.
It will initially lead to computers being disrupted and going offline for several minutes at a time. From 2012, however, PCs and laptops are likely to operate at a much reduced speed, rendering the internet an “unreliable toy” (Times Online)
To set the record straight for the tiny minority of our readers who don’t already know it: Bandwidth is not a finite resource. It’s never been cheaper or easier to deliver more of it. A foil hat award goes to reporter John Harlow for being suckered into taking this Al Gore style hoax seriously. I don’t know exactly what agenda his source Nemertes Research is pushing, but it’s probably not what it appears to be.
New earnings reports contradict the premise that Time Warner and Comcast are suffering from a customer base that is over consuming bandwidth without paying for it. Instinctively, we knew that was the case all along. Even with the explosive growth of demand, the wholesale cost of the average bandwidth use per subscriber is falling.
Comcast beat analysts’ expectations and increased profits 5.4 percent to $778 million. Time Warner Cable’s profits fell 32 percent, but this was mostly due to costs associated with the split from its former parent company, Time Warner. The company’s revenue was actually up 5 percent to $4.4 billion when compared to the same quarter a year ago.
Comcast also increased revenue by about 5.3 percent to $8.4 billion.
Meanwhile, both companies reduced capital spending. Comcast cut capital expenditures by 19 percent to $1.16 billion. And Time Warner Cable cut its spending by 18 percent to $33 million. For broadband specifically, Time Warner increased revenues 11 percent to $1.1 billion.
The companies also increased subscribers. Time Warner added 225,000 new broadband users and 166,000 new voice-over-IP customers during the quarter. Comcast added 328,613 high-speed Internet customers, down 33 percent from the previous year, and it added 298,433 digital phone customers, also down about 53 percent.
Even though Comcast isn’t adding new customers as quickly as it did a year ago and Time Warner’s profits aren’t as high as they were a year ago, the companies are still adding new subscribers and making money. And yet they are also cutting capital spending. (Cnet)
I do see potential for some bandwidth issues here, but it’s because while these companies are adding customers, they’re cutting investment in infrastructure. If this isn’t an obvious sign of an uncompetitive marketplace, then it is surely a sign of extreme arrogance.
Hulu is emerging as front runner in the online video space. With the addition of Disney programming the megaportal may be unstoppable. The carefully indexed site’s diverse offerings, good video quality and tolerable level of advertising are making it the site of choice for online viewers.
This means that TV shows from Disney-owned channels like ABC, SoapNet, and ABC Family will be coming to Hulu. Among them are “Lost,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Ugly Betty,” and “Scrubs.” There will also be Disney movies available on the ad-supported streaming video site, but a press release did not name any of them. Content will be available “soon,” the press release explained.
Reports started to surface about a month ago that Disney was in talks to join Hulu.
Robert Iger, president and CEO of the Walt Disney Company, will take a seat on Hulu’s board of directors, along with Anne Sweeney, co-chair of Disney Media Networks and president of the Disney/ABC Television Group, and Kevin Mayer, executive vice president of corporate strategy, business development, and technology at Disney. (Cnet)
Hulu is something any of the larger cable and telco operators could have easily done. I think the telcos will have the most explaining to do if shareholders ever grasp that. For a fraction of what thay have spent on closed IPTV systems, the telcos could have been riding the wave into the future instead of sinking into the past.