Uncommon Wisdom

May 6 2009   4:32PM GMT

Telco-versus-cable: An upload/download competition?

Tom Nolle Tom Nolle Profile: Tom Nolle

Cox is moving its DOCSIS 3.0 50 Mbps service into two areas where FiOS is available, creating another face-off between fast cable and FiOS. The two are priced similarly (cable is a bit cheaper), but FiOS has four times the upload speed. This creates an interesting dynamic. Verizon might find itself a promoter of the “no-caps” position simply because P2P hurts it far less than it does cable.

There is even some talk that telcos in general will be talking up unlimited access because it favors their architecture, just as higher download speeds favor cable over DSL. The question now is whether both parties will play chicken on capital infrastructure issues, hoping to force the other side into a costly investment they’d just as soon not make, or whether there is actually a longer-term division of customers ahead, where upload-centric users migrate to telcos and traditional downloaders move to cable.

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