Despite looming technological, competitive and regulatory challenges facing the cable business, three top cable execs and tech vendors exuded broad confidence about the industry's prospects at the SCTE Cable-Tec Expo in San Antonio earlier today. But the three CEOs warned that the industry must beef up its customer service operations, steer clear of costly price wars and develop a clear business model for wireless phone service.
Appearing together on the opening panel, Time Warner Cable Chairman & CEO Glenn Britt, Cisco Systems Inc. President & CEO John Chambers and Arris Chairman & CEO Robert Stanzione all claimed that cable is better poised than either the phone or satellite TV industries to meet the growing consumer demand for broadband products, services and features. They all argued that cable's HFC technology offers greater bandwidth, flexibility and efficiencies than the technical delivery networks of the industry's two chief rivals, especially as cable moves towards an Internet Protocol-based (IP) infrastructure.
The executives conceded, however, that the cable industry has not yet developed an economic model for packaging wireless and wireline phone service. They also warned that cable operators must not succumb to the temptation to engage in price wars with the leading DSL providers.
"The key for us competitively is to not become a commodity," Britt said. "I'd much rather have products and services that they don't have."