Chris Albrecht over at NewTeeVee has penned a piece on the plans of the cable giants to start to charge for online video. In a nutshell, they want to treat online video as premium channel like HBO, which means you pay more per month.
This is not a surprise to me at all, as back in April I aired my viewpoint on where the cable guys are going.
So what does this mean? Well for starters we are going to see two models at work. The "on demand" or premium content model where the receiving party pays for more bandwidth. The second, and more interesting model is the sending party pays model where through a variety of scenarios (ad supported, subscription only, bundled offer regardless of end point, etc.) the content owner pays the "toll" to "deliver" the content to you.
What this is really about is leverage. The cable companies (and telcos) are using their last mile (and access to you) to obtain ownership in the online video companies efforts. And this is nothing new. It has been going on for years. Just look at how Liberty Media was built. Their origins date back to TCI cable, as well as others like Time Warner. By controlling the number of homes connected to TCI, John Malone and his colleagues in the cable industry were able to take lucrative positions, or carried interest, in many of the cable networks. This same approach is being followed today, as history always repeats.
For the public, this needs to be a wake up call for more municipal based Internet access. Cities, towns, counties, etc., all should be investing in their own fiber networks, building out high-speed wireless access, and providing their residents with an alternative to the current duopoly approach of either the telcos or the cable company. When that happens, the public's interest, and the true premise of the Internet will remain alive.
Who are the likely suspects to get behind a public infrastructure project?
Google-they have lots of dark fiber
Cisco-they have the technology in the middle that makes it work
Intel-it sells more chips
Who should get behind it?
Yahoo-they need to do something different and have so much in the way of rights
AOL-Like Yahoo, they own a lot.
Microsoft-they need to keep out in front and a lot of their "exchange" technology and cloud leaning future requires access.
TechCrunch, GigaOm, and any other new media, all online entity with no relationships with the major pipe providers. Imagine if your access to one of those "content networks" was blocked by your cable company.
The future has already been written. All one has to do is look at the past.
The question is who wants to rewrite the future's history?
I do for one.