In my article on the backlash to Time Warner Cable’s bandwidth caps, I got a chance to speak with cap opponent and Rochester-area CEO Lee Drake, who thoughtfully followed up with more of this thoughts on revenue driving that wouldn’t alienate customers. Drake isn’t a free-Internet-for-everyone zealot — he owns his own business and happily acknowledges that America has very good reasons for not having the super-high-speed access at rock-bottom prices that many Asian markets see.
But like many consumers, he wishes service providers would get with the program on how he wants to consume media:
I hope that our efforts are not in vain, as your final sentence implies. I think Verizon FiOS stands as testament that a forward-thinking telecom company CAN come up with a solution that delivers both a large amount of bandwidth and personal user choice. I firmly believe that unbundling cable would go a long way towards restoring cable’s overall income. I would pay $100-$120 a month (as I already do) for unlimited fast internet, and an a la-carte television package.
If each person could subscribe a la carte (something consumers have been asking for, for years) cable could turn this goose egg into a golden egg. Cable companies might be pleasantly surprised that they have to carry fewer channels and make more money on each channel. I believe that in the next few years, the industry, come hell or high water, will develop to the point where you don’t really know or care if your entertainment source comes from a “television station,” a website, a blog, a tweet, a status update, a corporate source, a webpage, a gaming system or whatever. Convergence is here, and the telecom and cable communities better learn to ride the train or risk being run over by the locomotive.
Lee said he’d be happy to just purchase what he wants, and even pay a premium for premium Internet service, but he knows many friends who are cutting their cable television completely and using services like Hulu or Netflix streaming rather than pay a steep price for the 5 channels they do watch and the 500 additional ones they don’t.