Digital transition could drive subs into arms of cable
Cable operators could see a spike in their digital subscriber numbers once next year’s transition to digital signals takes place.
According to a story by the Associated Press, Comcast President Steve Burke told attendees at the 2008 Merrill Lynch Media Fall Preview Conference in California that Comcast could see an increase of two to three million new digital subscribers.
Burke also said that nine out of 10 of the potential new customers have landline phones, and roughly 60 percent have Internet access. Comcast could woo the potential new subscribers away from their current service providers by offering them lower-priced bundles of voice, video and data, or a low-priced video-only service.
Time Warner Cable COO Landel Hobbs was also quoted in the Associated Press story and said he sees a gradual transition of customers signing up for DTV.
Broadcasters will cease using analog signals on Feb. 17 of next year. A trial of digital TV started on Monday in Wilmington, N.C. (story here ).
Also at the conference, Burke said he expects that the joint venture among cable operators and other companies to offer wireless mobile Internet access could be finalized by the end of the year.
Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Intel, Google, Sprint Nextel and other partners have joined forces to form Clearwire, which is a $14.55 billion company that will offer high-speed, mobile Internet access (story here ).
Burke said Clearwire, which will use WiMAX technology, has a two- to three-year lead over other companies with similar plans for wireless Internet access. Burke said once the service is ready, it could be added into cable’s existing triple-play package, according to the Associated Press.
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