Telcos to the Rescue?

Bandwidth providers could be the heroes a tumultuous TV industry needs.

The landscape of the television industry is changing, even on the most basic levels. It’s time to re-think what it means to be a TV provider. The days of TV-specific infrastructure are quickly ending. While cable and satellite were first designed to deliver hundreds of linear channels to every home, consumers are now more often opting to use them as dumb data-pipes through which they can access over-the-top video services. The FCC has even gone as far as to classify broadband as a public utility under Title II of the Telecommunications Act. This means that bandwidth providers who were once unable to offer video services to their customers, for example rural telcos, wireless providers, universities, and more, may find this to be the perfect time to start offering a competitive television alternative.

Skip the Hassle

New pay-TV providers don’t pop up every day. It’s prohibitively expensive to lay cable throughout an entire area or launch a satellite, and that’s if you can get approval from the government to do either. Once that’s done, and you’ve sunk billions of dollars into building a network, you still have to provide content from all the major networks to be remotely competitive. But now bandwidth providers can skip those messy and expensive first steps. Because consumers are accessing video services through the internet, that same internet can be used to deliver an experience that replicates cable TV. Any entity that offers internet access now has the opportunity to take advantage of the current trends in consumer behavior by offering a web-based video product.

Don’t Reinvent the Wheel

The content that consumers want to watch is already out there on the internet, available legally. Bandwidth providers don’t need to negotiate for their own rights to offer it, they only need to round up those sources into a single package for consumers. If bandwidth providers can take some of the headache out of what cord-cutters ordinarily go through, they can make money from their customers’ current behavior, rather than suffer from it as the traditional TV industry has. Rather than trying to steer consumers behavior back towards video products that have traditionally been more profitable for the big cable and telco providers, there exists a major revenue opportunity for those that can facilitate consumers in their efforts to break free of these costly services.

Putting the Consumer First

The one common theme behind all the television industry tumult has been consumer dissatisfaction. Consumers feel like they’re getting ripped off by pay-TV, and they’ve said “enough is enough.” Thus far the television industry has largely responded by trying to wring more revenue from the subscribers that they’re able to hang on to, while punishing those that leave. This has created a huge opportunity for pro-consumer businesses in the industry. And while it’s a tall order for the likes of Comcast or AT&T to take on that mantle, other smaller telcos and bandwidth operators without all the baggage of previously offering pay-TV service could be poised to step up and fill that role.