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@ TelcoTV: Verizon to get chummier with cable

Thu, 10/25/2012 - 3:43pm
Brian Santo

Verizon’s Robert Mudge signaled the potential for closer collaboration with the cable industry in his keynote speech yesterday at TelcoTV, which, by the way, is going to be renamed next year.

Mudge, president of Verizon’s Consumer and Mass Business Markets, said his company was clearly benefiting from the arrangements with various MSOs to include Verizon Wireless in their bundles, but that only sets the stage for more work together.

Consumers’ home networks are becoming vastly complicated with the agglomeration of connected devices – set-top boxes, gateways, tablets, Smart TVs, Blu-ray players, smartphones, over-the-top boxes, home monitoring equipment, home control systems – the list is getting endless.

There is a risk that these networks are going to get too complex for customers to maintain themselves, and too complex to manage for service providers.

“That’s why we’ve decided to integrate and collaborate further” with all of Verizon’s partners, Mudge said.

The way consumers want to use broadband is forcing the hand of everyone in the industry, he said. “It means a strategy for converged innovation is imperative.”

“We’re so committed to successful convergence, we did what many people thought was unthinkable, which is collaboration of our wireless with cable companies. We mean to leverage that for more innovation. It will stimulate application developers. It will help us expand our opportunity outside our FiOS footprint,” he said.

Much of Mudge’s keynote was devoted to generalities about listening to the customer and improving not only customer satisfaction, but also customer loyalty.

During the subsequent and brief Q&A period, a question about the rationale for buying Redbox, and whether Verizon would share access to the Redbox service with other providers, elicited a response that contained more specifics than Mudge’s keynote.

“Why would FiOS get into an over-the-top offering? It’s very complementary. It’s a prudent step; we’re giving our customers what they’re asking for at a price they want. They have 30 million customers and all those kiosks,” Mudge said. “It’s a heavy lift. We’re out of alpha and into beta phase now, and we’ll be in the market in the fourth quarter. It has to be a flawless customer experience. As for other providers? We’ll be agnostic to any pipe. It will be outside of anything we offer – outside of DSL or FiOS. You can have cable. You can have wireless. Your question has got me thinking about co-branding for the first time, though. I don’t know. I have to think about that.”

Separately, the conference is heading for a name change: Next year, it will be called TelcoVision. Carol Wilson, program chairwoman, explained that the focus of the Tier 2, Tier 3 and Tier 4 companies that are the constituents of the show have expanded their interests, providing more services than just video, and that justified the change.

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