In many ways, though, we really haven't changed anything, with one exception. We're now spicing many of our stories with a dash of "business." Why? Because we've recognized what most people in the industry are also coming to understand: that technology and technologists don't reside in a vacuum. Technology doesn't exist for technology's sake alone; there has to be a reason to deploy it, or even the most inventive products will never see the light of day. It's important that you, the reader, understand how technology can be implemented in a way that either saves you money, makes you more efficient, or derives new revenue for your company.
A case in point: Recently, I received an e-mail from a small cable operator in the Midwest. This person runs a 300 MHz semi-rural cable system that's contiguous to a good-sized Time Warner system. The 10-mile plant is 15-years-old, and the population in the franchise area is growing at least 10 percent per annum. This person wanted to know if there was an article that explained when it was "right" to rebuild.
A pure technologist would say that it is absolutely time to rebuild because that plant is technologically obsolete. But an enlightened technologist has to factor in some economics, too. Would anyone advocate a complete rebuild if additional revenue wasn't part of the equation? Doubtful. So, I wrote back, explaining that cable plant hardware can be made to last a long, long time. But if the company was interested in delivering high-speed data, pay-per-view, digital video or any of the emerging technologies in order to compete and bring additional revenue, I said an immediate rebuild to 750 MHz could be justified by these new opportunities. With only 10 miles of plant and nearly 1,000 customers, the business case looks pretty strong to me.
Those are the kinds of stories we intend to bring you in CED. Sure, we'll continue to cover technology just as we always have. That will never change. But we're going to bend over backwards to put technology into a context that will help cable operators understand how they can use it to improve their business.
What do you think? Are we on the right track? Pick up the telephone and give me a call, or drop an e-mail to me at RBrowner@aol.com. I'm interested to hear how we can best serve you and provide the information you need to do your job better.
Contact Roger via e-mail at: RBrowner@aol.com