Until now, if consumers wanted broadband access, they were faced with two choices --- cable or DSL modems.
As the news this week shows, all that is about to change. Motorola announced a wireless broadband-over-powerline solution designed to allow the utility industry to provide high-speed access to customer homes. The solution should be a significant competitor to existing ones: Motorola cites a study that claims as many as 13 million U.S. households remain unable to receive broadband services from traditional cable modem or DSL providers, and says that its solution can bring the power of broadband to cities and municipalities underserved by current broadband providers.
Not that cable companies should be crying into their beer. Worldwide broadband cable subscribers skyrocketed 22% in 2004, reaching 41 million worldwide. Despite the growth, there was a 25% drop in worldwide CMTS revenues, to $145 million, in the first quarter of this year, after seven straight quarters of growth.
There was other network access news this week as well. The wireless network revolution is doing very nicely, thank you, as a study by Infonetics Research showed. The first quarter of this year saw record worldwide shipments of wireless LAN equipment, with an increase of 20 percent compared to the previous quarter.
Not all the broadband news was quite so sunny. The bad boys of Enron were back in the news, as the government rested its case five former Enron. broadband execs for alleged telecom and accounting fraud. Three of the defendants are charged with fraud, conspiracy, insider trading and money laundering for allegedly telling Wall Street that Enron's broadband network had capabilities it didn't really have, in a scheme to inflate stock prices. And two are charged with conspiracy and fraud for allegedly faking $111 million in earnings for the broadband unit. Hey, a few million here, a few million there...at some point it may actually add up to real money.