& 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   >   >>
Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
From The Founder
Cisco's Conrad Clemson, recently promoted to head up the company's Service Provider Apps & Platforms developments, talks to Light Reading's Founder and CEO Steve Saunders about how he's bringing cloud video, mobile and virtualization together to empower network operators.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Custom TV
ADVA Talks Innovation & the Future of Networking

1|17|17   |     |   (0) comments


Ray Le Maistre and Christoph Glingener, CTO of ADVA Optical Networking, discuss the current state of the industry, cooperation and collaboration, open innovation and the future of networking.
LRTV Custom TV
Cisco's Infinite Video Platform

1|17|17   |     |   (0) comments


Cisco's Infinite Video Platform allows service providers to deliver broadcast-quality video over IP networks. Infinite video supports many devices, from 4K TVs to tablets to game consoles. Join Cisco's Rajeev Raman for a brief tour and live demo.
LRTV Interviews
Masergy: Ability to Adapt Key for NFV

1|16|17   |   6:40   |   (0) comments


Speaking at Light Reading's 2020 Vision in Rome, Masergy's VP, Global Technology, Ray Watson, said agility is key to providing the mix and match NFV-based services that are driving business for the managed service provider today.
LRTV Interviews
Equinix: The Data Explosion

1|13|17   |   4:16   |   (0) comments


At Light Reading's 2020 Vision in Rome, Eric Schwartz, president of EMEA, Equinix, talked about how Equinix is helping its customers manage the influx of data today, and how it's preparing for a future filled with millions of connected IoT devices.
LRTV Interviews
Heavy Reading: The Changing Data Center Landscape

1|12|17   |   6:05   |   (1) comment


At Light Reading's 2020 Vision event in Rome, Heavy Reading's Senior Analyst Roz Roseboro talks about how virtualization is impacting data center evolution and how that evolution is affecting the relationship between service providers, data center operators and public cloud providers.
LRTV Interviews
Boingo: Prepping for Millions of Devices

1|12|17   |   5:07   |   (1) comment


At Light Reading's 2020 Vision in Rome, Boingo's CTO Derek Peterson discusses how wireless operators will address the needs of low-bandwidth and high-bandwidth apps at the same time, the need for more MHz, the impact of IoT and more.
LRTV Interviews
Comcast Shows Off Gig Gateway at CES

1|11|17   |     |   (1) comment


With its largest presence at CES in years, Comcast took the wraps off its long-awaited gigabit gateway and a new platform for managing the home WiFi network. Light Reading Senior Editor Mari Silbey sat down with EVP Chris Satchell to discuss the latest Comcast advance, and met with VP of Product Strategy and Development Andrea Peiro to walk through a demo of the ...
LRTV Interviews
Colt: End-to-End Key for 2017

1|10|17   |   6:21   |   (0) comments


At Light Reading's 2020 Vision Executive Summit in Rome, Nico Fischbach of Colt said having a multi-carrier, end-to-end service proposition is going to be key for 2017 -- and SD-WAN is instrumental in making it happen.
From the Founder
Cisco's Clemson on Mobile Cloud Video

1|9|17   |     |   (1) comment


Cisco's Conrad Clemson, recently promoted to head up the company's Service Provider Apps & Platforms developments, talks to Light Reading's Founder and CEO Steve Saunders about how he's bringing cloud video, mobile and virtualization together to empower network operators. "If you think about where we're going… whether it's a mobile application, or a video ...
LRTV Custom TV
VMware Telco NFV Solutions – Preparing for 5G & IOT

1|9|17   |     |   (0) comments


Shekar Ayyar, EVP & Corporate Strategy/General Manager of Telco for VMware, discusses VMware's Telco NFV solutions role and foundation for the Imminent Arrival of 5G & IOT.
LRTV Interviews
Heavy Reading: Big Video Set to Disrupt

1|6|17   |   4:39   |   (0) comments


At Light Reading's 2020 Vision Executive Summit in Rome, Heavy Reading's Adi Kishore talks about the challenges of managing and monetizing bandwidth-intensive video, and how service providers will need to transform their networks to cope with the big video explosion.
LRTV Interviews
Heavy Reading: IoT Set to Disrupt

1|5|17   |   7:07   |   (0) comments


Heavy Reading's Senior Analyst of IoT, Steve Bell, tells Light Reading how the Internet of Things (IoT) will transform service provider markets, business models and mindsets, and how virtualizing the network core and Fog networking is key to meeting the agility and flexibility demands of IoT in the future.
Upcoming Live Events
May 15-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Hot Topics
Ericsson: 5G Heralds 'New' New Economy
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 1/12/2017
Next Plugfest Gets G.fast Closer to Market
Brian Santo, Senior editor, Test & Measurement / Components, Light Reading, 1/13/2017
Growing Pains Will Force Telcos to Shape Up
Iain Morris, News Editor, 1/17/2017
TV's Paradox: No HDR Without 4K
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 1/17/2017
IBM, FDA Look to Blockchain to Secure Health Records
Scott Ferguson, Editor, Enterprise Cloud, 1/12/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders chats with Sportlogiq CEO Craig Buntin about sports data analysis.
Eyal Waldman, CEO of Mellanox Technologies, speaks to Steve Saunders, CEO of Light Reading, for an exclusive interview about the 100 GB cable challenge, cybersecurity and much more.
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

Playing it safe can only get you so far. Sometimes the biggest bets have the biggest payouts, and that is true in your career as well. For this radio show, Caroline Chan, general manager of the 5G Infrastructure Division of the Network Platform Group at Intel, will share her own personal story of how she successfully took big bets to build a successful career, as well as offer advice on how you can do the same. We’ll cover everything from how to overcome fear and manage risk, how to be prepared for where technology is going in the future and how to structure your career in a way to ensure you keep progressing. Chan, a seasoned telecom veteran and effective risk taker herself, will also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air.