Telecom CEOs Usher in New Age of Consumer Domination
Leaders from four top telecom and entertainment companies gave keynote speeches at the recent TelecomNext trade show in Las Vegas.
The CEOs of Verizon Communications, Time Warner Cable, Walt Disney Co., and NTT all seemed to agree that increasing levels of convergence and user choice is putting the future of telecom firmly in the hands of consumers.
"We're seeing a great shift in how consumers spend money, and our business models need to be flexible," said Disney CEO, Robert Iger. "It used to be said that content was king, but the consumer is king."
Verizon CEO, Ivan Seidenberg, meanwhile, cited his company's multibillion dollar investment in building an FiOS fiber optic network, which has been driven almost entirely by strong consumer demand. The network will eventually be used to deliver both broadband and digital video service to at speeds of up to 100 Mbps.
Markets where Verizon's FiOS service has already been deployed have averaged an impressive 14% penetration rate, almost overnight, a number that the company hopes to further improve upon in the years to come.
"The marketplace is telling us that there's a great opportunity out there," Seidenberg said. "And we are investing to get ourselves on the right side of the big ideas that will push our industry forward."
Another topic that came up repeatedly in the speeches was the danger of excessive government regulation.
"No matter how appealing government regulation may sound, it will be bad for my business, bad for your business, and bad for consumers," Iger commented in his address. "Consumers will be paying more for less choice. The free market is working. There's not policy justification for the government getting involved in how TV offerings should be structured."
Time Warner CEO, Glenn Britt, also voiced concerns about over-regulation, saying that providers in this new era of telecommunications shouldn't be regulated in the same ways as telephone companies of the past. "Regulations should be used judiciously," he argued. "You can expect us to oppose any regulation that tilts toward one side."
(Originally published by TeleClick.ca on March 22, 2006)
About the Author: Jeremy Maddock is a well-known technology blogger who writes about telephone carriers, cable companies, and the telecommunications industry in general.