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Big US telcos are less willing to go the extra mile for broadband these days - and this is leaving them dangerously exposed to cableco rivals, a specialist market research firm Mindbranc claims.

Telcos are cutting costs in North America, and this includes what Mindbranch calls "last mile infrastructure pullbacks. By contrast, " massive last-mile upgrades for cable broadband have continued on schedule in 2001."

The upshot is that the number of DSL broadband Internet connections are scheduled to overtake cable broadband more or less everywhere in 2001 - except the US.

Are the North American telcos shooting themselves in the foot by their failure to keep pace with cableco investment? Mindbranch certainly thinks so: it reckons that big well-run cablecos such as Comcast and AOL/Time Warner have it in them to stay ahead of DSL..
"and steal some voice business as well".

It's thinking like this that landed so many telcos in hot water in the first place. Telcos have filled the coffers of Cisco, and cable-laying subcontractors, in their rush to build IP networks ahead of the competition. But what has their over-investment landed them with, other than big debts?

Telcos can always build that last mile and they can always slug it out on price. But later.

As someone, probably famous, once said: you don't own market share, you merely rent it. ®

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