Is there a recession or not? Is there a slowdown in the broadband business or not? I have a feeling we will continue debating both of these questions until long after it stops making sense to ask them. AT&T recently said it saw something of a market slowdown related to consumer disconnects, but its fourth-quarter earnings suggested no current corresponding financial weakness, and it adjusted its earlier position by saying the housing market blues weren't having a direct effect on its business. Verizon Communications said yesterday that its TV service was growing rapidly, while net income and revenue were up, and it too said there was no slowdown related to general economic troubles. Yet, some observers had expected FiOS subscriber additions to be around 300,000 for the quarter, much higher than the 226,000 it posted.
Both companies continue to boost broadband speeds, and Qwest Communications is right behind them, so they all better hope the housing market has hit bottom. Meanwhile, there is some evidence that the online video revolution is moving faster than either AT&T's or Verizon's own impressive video efforts, and that companies such as high-end TV manufacturers are moving to connect viewers to Internet content that would side-step telco TV services. If you know what's really going on, let the rest of us in on it.
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