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Broadband and Cord Cutting

October 23rd, 2012

As parents, we watch our kids grow up but we don’t notice the big changes in their appearance or stature because we see them every day. Only when seeing someone after a long absence do we really see the striking changes that have occurred.

The same is true for technology. Week to week and month to month, it’s hard to appreciate the advancements in tech. Each new development is largely incremental in its impact, but over time the cumulative impact is tremendous. But, compare where we are now to, say, 15 years ago, and the landscape has changed drastically. The upheavals are extraordinary.

For example, in 1997, my home computer had 16 megs of memory (RAM) and a 420MB hard drive. Now, my smartphone has 1GB of RAM, 16GB of internal memory, and I can add up to 32 more with a microSD card. And whereas that old Compaq had a creaky 56K dial-up modem, my phone has all sorts of ways to connect. Advancements in the last 10 years or so make so many things possible that for decades have only been fantasy. Video phones? Yep, we can do that. Mobile TV? Easy. GPS? Child’s play. Flying cars…well, get back to us.

Speaking of TV (or “video” generally,) technology makes it easy to take control of your personal entertainment. Whether driven by simple personal preference or as a means of saving money, “cord cutting” is becoming more and more common. Devices such as the Roku box, Apple TV, smartphones and tablets, plus providers like Netflix and Hulu, make it easier say “adios” to cable or satellite.

Ultimately, reliable, high-speed broadband is what makes cord cutting/fraying possible.  High definition video requires high bandwidth, making it a smooth, non-buffering experience. Even better, with a fiber connection, you don’t have to share your bandwidth when everyone else in the neighborhood is streaming too. In a report from last year, Parks Associates of Dallas says “the growth of downgraders is more closely linked to the growth of broadband adoption than watching more Internet video.”

And even with an investment in fiber, cutting cords can lead to big savings. Just look at the experience of one of our subscribers. As reported on bulldogreporter.com,

“The consistent themes among cord frayers are that they are video-heavy and technologically savvy consumers who are choosing products and services that allow them to view the content they want, when and where they want it,” said Randall Hula, vice president of the Communications division at Market Strategies. “These are exactly the people who, in the past, drove the cable industry’s PPV and premium channel revenues, and they’re being lost to new ways to view.”

The average cord frayer surveyed by Market Strategies reported a $42 monthly savings on their cable bill by cancelling and/or downgrading subscriptions and decreasing PPV usage. As alternatives become more ubiquitous and even easier to use, the potential exists for cord fraying to become more widespread, costing cable operators billions in annual revenues.

Cable operators will fight back, but as one site says, “The problem is that cable operators haven’t been willing to compete on price. That’s something that’s primarily driving customers to other pay TV options now, but will increasingly drive them to cut the cord as Internet video options continue to evolve.”

Technology is best when it serves our needs. UTOPIA’s world-class speeds make so many things possible, opening up options you may not have previously considered. These help you get the most out of your fiber connection and can save you money.