There is a great big, wing-ding shootout shaping up at the Last Mile Corral. The last mile is of course the connection from utility – be it cable TV, power, satellite, or telephone to residential households. The vendors competing for priority and access to that last mile, in North America at least, have become frenzied and ferocious. Lets look at the contenders.
Cable TV can and do deliver packages for as low $90/month for combined:
-cable TV services
-high speed Internet access;
-VOIP local phone access;
Satellite TV offers combined packages for as low as $60/month for:
-satellite TV services (generally broader/more channels than cable TV)
-Internet Services with the help of local line or WiFI connection.
Local telephone companies offer combo packages for as low as $75/month for:
-local telephone service plus some long distance;
-high speed internet access;
-limited mobile access;
Mobile telephone companies offer combined $50/month or more packages for:
-increasingly broad mobile service;
-some local and long distance service;
-low speed internet service;
-pictures and movie taking capabilities;
And we could easily go on listing various permutations and combinations. And expect more different combinations, as the various telecom and cable companies try to find the technical and market sweet spot. For example, look for telephone companies to add satellite or cable TV service or video on demand. Some analysts say the hidden shamrock is a four leaf clover of TV, mobile phone, high speed internet access, and combined local/long distance service. Expect a shoot out of new and old features. For example, the Yankee Group is forecasting that the Cable triple play of TV, high speed internet, and VOIP local telephone will increase from 3.6 million subscribers to 11.6 million in 2008. Microsoft and SBC are working on an IP-based television service to bring telephone companies the missing TV leaf in the communication shamrock. And Wall Street analysts are predicting co-operation and mergers between what would seem to be strange media bedfellows – all looking for piece of the Last Mile action. All a part of the Shootout at the Last Mile Corral.