Google has been having some conversations lately that have some people in the cable industry taking notice. It appears that the search giant is exploring the possibility of offering an alternative to traditional cable by attempting to put together and “over the top” package of channels it can offer broadband subscribers. The idea would be to offer you a bunch of channels, just like the cable companies, only it would come in over your cable modem or FIOS line or even upper end DSL.
This has cable companies worried about increased competition and well they should be. Over 100 million Americans currently use the cable companies as their main access to television content but high costs, lack of competition, and locked in packages (much like current cell phone packages) have more than a few subscribers interested in alternatives. The explosive growth of streaming services like Netflix and Hulu are just the tip of the iceberg and if Google does manage to put something together, it could drastically change the cable landscape in the future.
For now, the talks are preliminary and existing channels have not been very receptive to these ideas (which other companies like Apple are also looking into). It’s likely that nothing major will happen right away, but Google has lots of money to spend, a huge and loyal customer base and time on its side. The Cable industry is busy pricing itself out of the budgets of many cash-strapped Americans and that will likely catch up to them sooner than later.
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