"Battle is the most magnificent competition in which a human being can indulge. It brings out all that is best; it removes all that is base." -General George S. Patton

This issue marks the fifth installment of what has become an annual feature at Pipeline: The Cableco vs Telco issue. From its first iteration in our fifth issue, back in 2004, this issue theme has been aimed at highlighting the competition between two different access technologies, corporate cultures, and growth strategies. Once wholly separate, cablecos and telcos have gradually converged on the other's core business lines, and that has led to these companies converging on one another.

I know that the battle imagery may be a little strong. These, after all, are massive companies struggling to maintain market-share amid sliding wired voice and persistent over-the-top and (some say) cord-cutting menaces. There's friendly competition, sure. But battle?

And perhaps that's part of the puzzle. Are battles as feverish as they could be? Are cablecos and telcos too quick to concede elements of their overall business plan in the interest of sticking to low-hanging fruit and avoiding long and costly attempts to stem losses and stave-off competitors? What market segments are the REAL "battlegrounds," so to speak?

These are just a few of the questions surrounding the struggle between cablecos and telcos for subs and revenue. We tackle many more in this issue.

We take a look at two titans in their respective access-types to see how they stack up. We explore a less-visible aspect of competition hiding behind WiFi hotspots. We see how video, especially, is changing the nature of the cableco/telco battle (and vice-versa).

In addition, we hear from VPI Systems on the unique backgrounds and challenges of cablecos and telcos, and how everyone can play when it comes to quad-play. We also hear from MDS on e-enablement in the cable market. In addition, we hear from Telus, International on why instant-chat customer service options are a way to differentiate during a pitched cableco/telco battle.

In addition to all of that, we bring you an insider's guide to the upcoming NCTA Cable Show and all the latest news analysis in the space.

As Patton would say: "That is all."

Tim Young


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