& cplSiteName &

Comcast Eyes Electrical Surge

Alan Breznick
1/23/2014
50%
50%

Call it a cable power play. Not content to sell video, broadband, voice, mobile, home security, home automation, and business telecom services to the world, Comcast is exploring the idea of peddling electricity.

Greentech Media reported Wednesday that Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) is gearing up to sell electrical power in its home state. Robert Powelson, chairman of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, said the Philadelphia MSO is teaming up with a retail electric supplier to offer an electricity product in the fourth quarter.

Speaking to reporters, Powelson did not name the retail supplier. But a spokesman for NRG Energy of Princeton, NJ, later told Philly.com that his company is "working with Comcast on a new initiative."

A Comcast spokeswoman confirmed Thursday in an email, "As you may have read, we are exploring a relationship with a third-party supplier, NRG, to conduct a retail energy trial in Pennsylvania." She did not offer further details.

A successful trial could catapult Comcast into yet another service category. In the last couple of years, the MSO has branched out from its more traditional cable services of video, broadband, and voice by adding wireless, multiscreen video, home security, and home automation to its ever-growing roster of residential offerings. (See Betting on Smart Homes.)

For example, as Greentech Media reported, Comcast could bundle an electricity service with its Xfinity Home automation service. Among other things, Xfinity offers home controls for lighting and heating, making it a good complement for an electricity offering.

Such speculation may be premature, especially if Comcast short circuits the potential trial with NRG. However, with the US pay TV market pretty saturated and the broadband market nearing the saturation point, we shouldn't be surprised if the electricity business lights a fuse for Comcast and other MSOs.

— Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading

(11)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
albreznick
50%
50%
albreznick,
User Rank: Blogger
1/26/2014 | 1:31:49 PM
Re: Why not?
Good points, Mark. The technical capabilities are different. If this develops any further, it will be interesting to see exactly what role Comcast will play and what its business model will be.  
albreznick
50%
50%
albreznick,
User Rank: Blogger
1/26/2014 | 1:29:03 PM
Re: Because cable service never fails ...
True. I did go a bit far there. Guess I'm thinking big, just like Comcast often does. But it is quite a stretch to say that they're looking to become a new Con Ed or PSEG right now. So I take it back.   
MarkC73
50%
50%
MarkC73,
User Rank: Light Sabre
1/24/2014 | 3:01:43 PM
Re: Why not?
Yes but with phone there's technical synergy, the infrastructure and access, sure theres cap ex to to build the service, but there was leaverage too, plus it's scalable meaning they could to it across their foot print.  In any case, no big deal, guess we'll see when/how/if they roll, it's always in the details.
mendyk
50%
50%
mendyk,
User Rank: Light Sabre
1/24/2014 | 12:32:55 PM
Re: Because cable service never fails ...
I'm not speaking from personal experience here -- just an observation about how cable operators show up in satisfaction surveys. But it's more than a stretch to say that what Comcast is rumored to be thinking about is becoming an electric utility. This is more like branding a white-label service and selling it as part of a bundle.
albreznick
50%
50%
albreznick,
User Rank: Blogger
1/24/2014 | 12:32:47 PM
Re: Why not?
Very interesting. I don't know yet if Comcast is just dabbling or really serious about this idea. And it's hard to imagine them entering another regulatory minefield like this. But, as Dan points out below, Comcast has done this sort of thing before, particularly in the heavily regulated phone business. So who knows?  
albreznick
50%
50%
albreznick,
User Rank: Blogger
1/24/2014 | 12:29:56 PM
Re: Because cable service never fails ...
Spoken like a tried-and-true Comcast subscriber. Guess you don't want them as your electric utility any time soon, eh?
GregW333
50%
50%
GregW333,
User Rank: Lightning
1/24/2014 | 9:53:58 AM
Re: Why not?
In the longer term, I think this is more strategically aligned than NBC.  Worldwide network operators are, or have, shed media assets.  

One of the many interesting issues to watch is the regulatory area. FCC vs. DOE, State vs. Federal...yikes.  If Comcast is serious about this, they should run like hell and worry about the regulators in 5 years when they figure out what's going on.  They did this very successfully with broadband.  

I actually think this makes sense in the long term.  

Greg W. 
KBode
100%
0%
KBode,
User Rank: Light Sabre
1/24/2014 | 9:41:50 AM
Re: Why not?
No I think you've got it...ie this is a cute one off exploration of a concept that won't likely move beyond this trial given the complicated state by state utility regulations Comcast won't want to have absolutely anything to do with. Imagine though...the biggest cable provider, largest TV provider, third largest phone company, and massive NBC empire also providing electricity? Amazing (maybe terrifying) but unlikely.
mendyk
50%
50%
mendyk,
User Rank: Light Sabre
1/24/2014 | 9:35:08 AM
Because cable service never fails ...
Kind of a ballsy play by Comcast, given the fact that the cable industry's reputation for reliability and customer service remains a bit ... challenged. Then again, Comcast won't be involved in actually delivering electricity.
MarkC73
50%
50%
MarkC73,
User Rank: Light Sabre
1/23/2014 | 11:48:32 PM
Re: Why not?
Interesting, but where's the technical synergy, and I'm wondering about the margins and such.  A partnership is one thing, but for a game changing product, I'm thinking it has to be scalable as well as leveraging something that's already there.  Maybe I'm missing something.
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
Featured Video
From The Founder
The 'gleaming city on a hill,' Steve Saunders calls it. But who is going to take us from today's NFV componentry to the grand future of a self-driving network? Here's a look at the vendors hoping to make it happen.
Flash Poll
Upcoming Live Events
September 28, 2017, Denver, CO
October 18, 2017, Colorado Convention Center - Denver, CO
November 1, 2017, The Royal Garden Hotel
November 1, 2017, The Montcalm Marble Arch
November 2, 2017, 8 Northumberland Avenue, London, UK
November 2, 2017, 8 Northumberland Avenue – London
November 10, 2017, The Westin Times Square, New York, NY
November 30, 2017, The Westin Times Square
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
Could 5G Have Found Its Glass Ceiling?
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 9/20/2017
1 Million Pirate Set-Top Boxes Sold in the UK
Aditya Kishore, Practice Leader, Video Transformation, Telco Transformation, 9/20/2017
Comcast Shuts Down OTT Again
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 9/19/2017
Why Amazon May Be Cable's Biggest Threat
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 9/22/2017
Photo Highlights: Operations Transformation Forum 2017
Ray Le Maistre, International Group Editor, 9/17/2017
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

Understanding the full experience of women in technology requires starting at the collegiate level (or sooner) and studying the technologies women are involved with, company cultures they're part of and personal experiences of individuals.

During this WiC radio show, we will talk with Nicole Engelbert, the director of Research & Analysis for Ovum Technology and a 23-year telecom industry veteran, about her experiences and perspectives on women in tech. Engelbert covers infrastructure, applications and industries for Ovum, but she is also involved in the research firm's higher education team and has helped colleges and universities globally leverage technology as a strategy for improving recruitment, retention and graduation performance.

She will share her unique insight into the collegiate level, where women pursuing engineering and STEM-related degrees is dwindling. Engelbert will also reveal new, original Ovum research on the topics of artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, security and augmented reality, as well as discuss what each of those technologies might mean for women in our field. As always, we'll also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air and chat board.

Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed