Comcast CEO Brian Roberts is under the microscope over the Wall Street Journal. When asked if telephony could be the next big revenue opportunity for his company, he hedged a bit.
No one knows at this moment. Some would say it’s merely an application running on the high-speed data product and voice is headed for being free in this country. And others would say it’s a $100 billion-a-year revenue business and the video business pales in comparison. We want to … enable the whole network [for phone service] by 2006. I think in the long run, IP phones will be a great business.
He thinks that if you look beyond the market share numbers, the DSL threat is a bit overblown in the US.
Market share has never been the principal metric that we judge ourselves by because we can’t control somebody else’s behavior. Our metric is how many net additions do we want to have and at what price and value per customer. Going into 2003, we said we could do 1.2 million net adds. In fact, we actually did 1.67 million net adds last year. This year, we said our goal was to do 1.5 to 1.6 [million] net adds, and to keep the same revenue per customer that we had last year. We’re on track to meet or exceed that guidance. … We continue to be very optimistic about high-speed [Internet] data….
Roberts talks about convergence and how television and computer are coming together. He sees the magic bullet as a 60-inch flat panel television with an embedded computer at less than $1000. If that comes around, most Americans would want me. I know certainly I would want one.