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The Daily Ardmoreite
  • During changing times, cable companies forced to adjust with increased Internet usage

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  • Those old enough can remember the day when they first got cable television. And many of those people in Ardmore were among the first in the state to be able to put away the rabbit ears.
    In the 30 years since cable television first came to Ardmore, a great many changes have come to the industry. And with greater technological advances, the industry has had to change with the times.
    "Young people don't necessarily watch cable television; their choices and lifestyles are so different," says David Walls, Cable One general manager. "They basically use Internet services."
    Wall says the choices are evident in the significant reduction of subscriptions and revenue the cable side of the company is reporting. In addition to the choices people are making, the costs for retransmission rights have also gone up significantly. Programmers continue to drive up the rates for cable companies, which in turn, makes it more costly for cable providers to offer the same product to the public.
    Wall says when cable came into being, the companies paid to be placed on one of the lower channels. And when cable was first introduced in Ardmore, there were six channels from which to choose. But that was a long time ago, as some brands, such as ESPN and Fox, have risen to the forefront and now are in position to make increasing demands.
    "There is no negotiation," Wall says. "What you are seeing is a national trend. Cable companies are picking who the big players are, and dropping the smaller ones."
    Because the margin has shrunk for cable profits, companies have been forced to adapt and stay ahead of the curve or risk going out of business. And that is where Internet has proven to be a boon to those companies. As demand for cable decreases, the shift has focused to Internet services.
    "It transformed how people are looking at television," Wall says. "We had to change along with it.
    "There were two to three times more cable companies 20 years ago. They have either consolidated or gone out of business."
    And other companies have been caught up in the changes. Blockbuster closed its doors as the viewing habit of people made it more convenient to stay at home rather than go and rent a movie.
    "The changes in technology happened so fast," Wall says. "Everything migrated to Amazon, Hulu and Netflix."
    Wall says Netflix uses up to 50 percent of Cable One's bandwidth. Locally, Cable One has a hybrid system using both coaxial cable and fiber.
    "The only advantage of fiber is distance," Wall says. "We know how many nodes are being used, and if it reaches 75 percent capacity, we add more nodes. We are constantly updating the services."
    Page 2 of 2 - It also takes consistent maintenance and monitoring. Wall said he is able to determine each morning how many nodes are being used, and can see the activity taking place in different parts of the city.
    "We can see the peaks and valleys," he says. "Sometimes, we can make adjustments in the head end or we can go and add some more fiber."
    It is a much different maintenance concept than with cable television, and those changes have also extended to packages for usage of cell phones as well. Whereas the main focus was on premium packages, there are now conversations such as no data caps for cell phone data plans.
    "If we were still relying on the same model, companies like Cable One wouldn't even be in Ardmore today," Wall says.
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