Eat Your Fiber!

I don’t pretend to be an expert on the roller coaster ride called the telecom industry, but I do know that in the broadband space, the dominant cable companies now have a real threat on their hands. It’s called fiber, and it’s not the kind that will lower one’s cholesterol. (In fact, broader bandwidths may actually increase one’s dormancy in front of a PC or TV.)

In 1993, when the world was a different place, I had the opportunity to preside over a New York “media tour” for then Intel Corp. CEO Andy Grove. I knew who he was and so did all of Silicon Valley, but the revolution had yet to be televised, so he was virtually unknown in the MSM — especially on the east coast. Our charge: introduce him to mass media magazines, e.g., editors at Conde Nast, Hearst and elsewhere. (After all, consumers could be made to care about the newly introduced Pentium chip.)

I remember quite vividly the roundtable meetings we held with those editors. I also remember Mr. Grove boldly prediciting that “…one day, you’ll see cable coaxial plugged in to the back of your PC…” Following the meeting, I quietly asked him whether consumers will ever see fiber running in to their homes. He quickly and emphatically answered “No.”

As I gaze out the rear window of my home, I’m amused to see the Verizon workers laying fiber for its new FiOS service, which promises unparalleled speeds for data delivery, and TV programming by the end of the year.

How things change!