Feb 9, 2004
Comments Off on the battle for access is not yet lost

the battle for access is not yet lost

In the past I have talked about how access, the ISP business, was the only Internet service where telcos and cablecos actually had a meaningful market presence. In webhosting, email and domain registration they are almost non-existant.

They have done well in access, well more specifically broadband access (they generally sucked at dialup), because of the high infrastructure costs, the regulatory environment and their huge legal departments.

Well, lawyers as a competitive variable tends to be a short-term strategy. I have started to come around to the view that the battle for access is far from over. In fact I am now starting to believe…hmmmm…recognize that where we are today is simply a point on a long continuum.

I have been mulling on this for a while as we wait for penetration from 802.16 to come. It seems to me that with long haul bandwidth cheap and getting cheaper, something providing 30km coverage will get most providers most of the way. And here providers will not need telcos in any way. In fact they will nibble around the edges, skimming off the juiciest bits first before the telcos even know what hit them.

Then I recently read this which can change the calculus again. I have always thought that broadband over power was the best long-term solution and could indeed win in a fair fight. I of course recognize that these fights are rarely, if ever, fair.

Think about it. The typical home has 2 or 3 cable jacks, 4? 5? 6? phone jacks, but plugs all over the place! 2 or 3 just in one room! It’s a lan-in-a-box!

Now wifi makes that less relevant, but I like the idea of packets just coursing through the walls of my house. And I cannot imagine the utilities having the same illusions that they can deal with end-users that telcos and cablecos hold.

Lastly, what I also find interesting about this is that it is likely to be other Internet services that provide the foothold for providers to sell access. You get your hosting from me? How about a 30mb connection? I like it alot.

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I am elliot noss.

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