Washington -- A leader in the wireless cable industry said
last Monday that failure to buy cable programming at fair prices is driving wireless cable
operators into the high-speed Internet-access business.
Andrew Kreig, president of the Wireless Communications
Association International (WCA, formerly the Wireless Cable Association International),
said many of his members want to be Internet-access providers because the demand is there
and the vital input -- interactive content -- is abundantly available at no cost.
"One of the reasons why this Internet business becomes
more attractive to our operators is because they feel that they are getting really hurt on
the program-access price-discrimination issue, and Congress is not doing anything about
it," Kreig said.
According to an analyst with Kagan Media Appraisals,
wireless cable operators are offering high-speed access in 12 U.S. markets, at downstream
rates of 1.54 megabits per second, with a telephone-return path. Broader deployment is
expected to follow the release of new Federal Communications Commission rules on two-way
data services this summer.
Kreig said he is hopeful that the Internet play -- along
with his industry's entry into local phone markets -- will persuade Wall Street
investors that wireless cable operators are developing new sources of revenue and stronger