Cable companies like Comcast, Time Warner and others are facing enormous shifts in the market and regulatory environment that are likely to prove very challenging to navigate going forward. Earlier this year, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission subjected cable companies to Title II of the Communications Act in its Open Internet rulemaking deeming Internet service providers -- cable companies top the list measured by total customer premises served -- common carrier telecommunications utility providers under Title II.
That's hugely incompatible with cable's business model based on offering subscriptions to bundles of TV channels to selected -- and not all -- customer premises in their service areas. At the same time as this regulatory sea change is occurring, the marketplace is also being disrupted as consumers increasingly shun these offerings.
Cable's subscription-based model is far better suited to the FCC's previously adopted classification of Internet service as a specialized information service -- and the cablecos' market positioning of themselves as entertainment and not telecommunications providers. Now it's gone except in the unlikely event the courts step in and restore it. Meanwhile, consumers are turning elsewhere for video entertainment.