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Bell-DBS Alliance Still Means Trouble

Who needs IPTV when you've already got satellite TV? Not Verizon. Nor AT&T nor BellSouth nor Qwest for that matter.

Alan Breznick

July 4, 2006

1 Min Read
Bell-DBS Alliance Still Means Trouble

Who needs IPTV when you've already got satellite TV? Not Verizon. Nor AT&T nor BellSouth nor Qwest for that matter. For all the buzz generated by the Bells' respective landline TV ventures, the real video action is quietly happening in the heavens. As a largely ignored press release from Verizon pointed out late last week, the nation's second biggest phone company now has 415,000 satellite TV subscribers, after hooking up another 66,000 customers for DirecTV service in the first quarter. All of these Verizon customers are also bundled "triple"play" subscribers, having signed up for phone and DSL service as well. And Verizon is only third best among the four major Bells in hawking satellite TV packages. BellSouth now leads the pack with an impressive 628,000 DirecTV subscribers, after netting 105,000 new customers in Q1. AT&T ranks second with 491,000 EchoStar subscribers, following the addition of 34,000 customers in the winter quarter. Even lowly Qwest has now compiled 170,000 DirecTV customers, after enlisting 42,000 in the first three months of the year. As a result, the four RBOCs have now accumulated slightly over 1.7 million satellite TV customers through their marketing partnerships with the two DBS giants. That's enough to qualify them collectively as a top 10 MSO, bigger than all but the seven or eight largest cable operators in the land. So forget about FiOS TV, U-verse and all those other telco TV ventures on the ground for the moment. The biggest Bell threat today is still coming from the skies.

About the Author(s)

Alan Breznick

Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading

Alan Breznick is a business editor and research analyst who has tracked the cable, broadband and video markets like an over-bred bloodhound for more than 20 years.

As a senior analyst at Light Reading's research arm, Heavy Reading, for six years, Alan authored numerous reports, columns, white papers and case studies, moderated dozens of webinars, and organized and hosted more than 15 -- count 'em --regional conferences on cable, broadband and IPTV technology topics. And all this while maintaining a summer job as an ostrich wrangler.

Before that, he was the founding editor of Light Reading Cable, transforming a monthly newsletter into a daily website. Prior to joining Light Reading, Alan was a broadband analyst for Kinetic Strategies and a contributing analyst for One Touch Intelligence.

He is based in the Toronto area, though is New York born and bred. Just ask, and he will take you on a power-walking tour of Manhattan, pointing out the tourist hotspots and the places that make up his personal timeline: The bench where he smoked his first pipe; the alley where he won his first fist fight. That kind of thing.

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