Continued Growth & Faith in the Industry #Summit23

What do a municipal utility, a traditional telephone company and a “new breed” telecom operator have in common? They were all represented on a panel moderated by 2nd generation cable television owner Robert Gessner. In the above interview, Gessner, president of MCTV and ACA chairman, indicates this panel represents the diversity of the ACA membership.

As Gessner alludes to, one thing these operators have in common, whether or old or new, is their continual reinvestment in their respective networks as they look to the future. By example, he shares that John Higginbotham of the Frankfort Plant Board indicated that they are working on their ninth rebuild of their system. Gessner also provides insight on MCTV’s implementation of a GPON overlay on their existing Hybrid Fiber Coax plant.

Gessner recounts his onstage interview with Mediacom’s Rocco Commisso and Commisso’s faith in the continuing growth of the industry, despite the decline in the television business. Gessner points to the trend of operators wanting to move away from the set-top box, which he says are often a cost-center for an operator, as the long-term trend is the elimination of the set-top through direct viewing by consumer-owned devices.

If the aim is to help cut costs for the consumer, Commisso questioned whether the FCC is taking the correct approach. Commisso estimated a ten times increase in programming costs since the 1990s regulation efforts and that those cost increases are much more significant than set-top fees. In his remarks on stage, Commisso stressed how much less utility analog set-tops from 20+ years ago had compared to today’s set-tops; which are essentially computers that enable features not possible when the last comprehensive telecom/video laws were passed. The older analog boxes also didn’t have the monthly recurring costs associated with software and metadata, such as middleware and program information data.

Stay tuned for an extended interview with Rocco Commisso for his comments on broadband, as well as his unlikely path from 12-year-old immigrant to successful cable industry leader.

ACA Summit coverage brought to you by the ACA and ViodiTV.


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