Will Telcos Finally Reverse Internet Access Market Share Gap?

U.S. telco--especially the former and present rural providers--have not fared well in the internet access market share battle against cable TV for some years. In fact, it has been nearly two decades since telcos had more internet access market share than did cable TV operators.

Some think the trend is nearly irreversible, with telcos collectively unable to maintain present market share in internet access.

To be sure, some might argue that telcos have deliberately traded profit margins for market share . Others might note that, at least since 2012, not even that strategy has worked.

But one always has to be alert for changes. And it already is clear that markets could be changing, in part because telco upgrades are no longer constrained to “fiber to home” upgrades, and some important providers (AT&T. Verizon) might be able to upgrade their networks much faster than has been possible in the past.

At the same time, in part because mobile access itself is claiming share in a fixed internet access market that might already have peaked, demand could shift in a mobile and wireless direction that would reduce the share of internet access served by cabled networks.

Since it is AT&T and Verizon that are the likely biggest beneficiaries of that shift, there clearly is potential for internet access market share to shift in a way we have not seen for several decades.

Perhaps for such reasons, Moffett Nathanson researchers now have reduced their predictions for cable TV market share in internet access, from 55 percent share to about 51 percent.

That would be a huge shift, reversing almost two decades of cable TV dominance in internet access.


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