I was reading on Cnet and several other news outlets that AT&T struck some deals with Time Warner Cable, Comcast, Cox Communications, and Charter Communications. But have they struck a deal with the devil? Will the cable companies turn on AT&T? Read on...
The deal essential states that when customers call about CallVantage and state that they do not have broadband Internet access, AT&T will forward these calls to the cable company.
Ok, well first of all, who is going to call AT&T about CallVantage that doesn't have broadband already? Unless they are a newbie, they should know that VoIP requires broadband connectivity.
Secondly, let's assume that due to AT&T's attempts to make VoIP mainstream (i.e. see the AT&T VoIP commercials aired during the Olympics) that there are lots of "newbies" out there calling AT&T and asking about CallVantage that don't have broadband.
Sure, AT&T can give the referral to the cable company, but what is to prevent the cable companies from telling the customer "Forgot about AT&T CallVantage. We can not only give you broadband, but we can also offer you VoIP access as well, all from one company and at a lower price, with more features, blah blah blah."
Seems to me AT&T could be shooting itself in the foot. In fact, several cable companies already offer voice. For example, CableVision offers Optimum Voice (voice over cable).
It certainly seems to be strange bedfellows to me, but maybe I'm missing the big picture. AT&T certainly needs the broadband providers in order to bypass the local carriers (and the spaghetti of regulation) and provide voice, but I worry that the cable companies can turn on AT&T by offering package deals that AT&T can't compete with. It's an interesting time indeed in telecom, when I worry about AT&T not being able to compete.