Malone foresees tiered broadband pricing, cable industry consolidation

Onetime cable TV industry giant John Malone said in an exclusive interview with the Denver Post late last week that the U.S. broadband service provider sector should go the way of the wireless industry, eventually offering broadband packages under tiered pricing models based on data consumption, similar to how mobile data plans have evolved.

John Malone, Liberty Global

Malone (Image source: Liberty Global)

That was just one nugget from an interview which also implied that Malone could be the driving force behind a coming wave of consolidation in the cable TV industry. The industry pioneer who sold one-time cable TV market leader TCI to AT&T recently bought a 27 percent stake in Charter Communications through his Liberty Global business, and could be plotting other investments and deals.

Usage-based pricing has been a hard sell in the wireline broadband world. It has been discussed for years, dating back to some initial trials of the concept as early as 2008. But in several cases, trials and rollouts were delayed or aborted because of rampant criticism. More recently, some service providers have started to implement broadband usage caps, which in many cases go hand in hand with tiered and usage-based pricing.

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