Saturday, February 05, 2005

What a difference a day makes

Last Wednesday, at the Sky quarterly analyst briefing, James Murdoch was asked if developments like the just announced NBCUniversal/CinemaNow deal concerned him (incidentally, CinemaNow's licensing deals allow it to offer full service to UK users, though I don't know how widely that is known). His response was that at present UK DSL is not up to the challenge of providing the 6 - 10Mbps it would take to deliver a competitive video offering. UK Online's new 8Mbps service (4.4m household footprint) notwithstanding, we would have been inclined to agree with him, at that point.

On Thursday, an almost-audible Homer Simpson-esque "doh" was in the air, as BT Group, in deciding that it wasn't ready to enter the OK Corral afterall, issued a statement of regulatory compromise to OFCOM, and simultaneously revealed its plans for commercial ADSL 2+ products by autumn. These two announcements mean that we can expect a more credible push in video both by BT itself and the unbundlers (I have heard unconfirmed reports that Bulldog has hired some veterans from Fastweb, which begs interesting questions).

Then again, maybe more bandwidth just means that users are freer and happier to do their own thing, whether that's CinemaNow, Cybertelly, or something else. Miss that last episode of 24? Don't worry, it's all here, and you don't need a PVR or a subscription. Maybe you prefer The Simpsons, Deadwood, or Stargate SG-1? No one ever said it was legal, or nice, but it's out there and it ain't hard to find, if you can drag yourself away from the TV.

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