Cable's $30b inroad into telecom

Dylan Bushell-Embling
09 Nov 2009

Cable TV companies generated over $30 billion in telecom service revenues during the first half of the year, as they continued their aggressive grab market share.

And with cablecos sustaining an annual telecom revenue growth rate of 28% since 2003, they are poised to carve out a greater share of the $700 billion wireline market, research firm TeleGeographysaid.

The total wireline market grew by just 4% annually over the same period.

“IPTV has been getting huge amounts of attention [lately] and this has tended to blind people to the impact cablecos are having on the telecoms market,” TeleGeography analyst John Dinsdale said.

“Leading cablecos have succeeded in transforming their businesses to the point where almost 40% of their revenues now come from telecom.”

In markets where they are allowed to compete, cable companies hold an estimated 29% of broadband subscribers and 9% of telephony subscribers, and take in around 15% of residential telecom revenues in these countries.

But their success has so far been primarily in the markets of North America and Western Europe, and their impact in Asia is likely to continue to be minimal, the researchers said.

Cablecos are currently barred from offering telecom services in most of Asia - including both major markets of China and India - and that is unlikely to change soon.

US cable companies Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Liberty Global are now among the top 15 broadband ISPs worldwide by revenue, Dinsdale added.

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