Let's first step back a little bit. Cablecos and telcos are trying to leapfrog each other in the broadband game. Telcos have xDSL technology to upgrade copper, cablecos have DOCSIS. Almost as old is the DOCSIS 3.0 conundrum; Comcast gave a demo and Giga Om justly reminds us of the barriers yet to be taken: certification, commercial availability, freeing up bandwidth. Meanwhile, let's not forget that FTTH is still the ultimate solution - i.e. Verizon's FiOS. As Comcast is reluctant to go the FTTH way, it has not only DOCSIS 3.0, but other technologies at its disposal: further plan upgrades (toward 1 GHz), node splitting, switched digital video, Vyyo.
Now how does Joost fit in here?
The Wall Street Journal recently devoted a fine article to Comcast, highlighting its efforts toward gearing up its broadband offering. Video is increasingly brought to us over the internet, so making Comcast.net a viable player is a good (defensive) strategy, complementary to the regular TV/VoD offering. The most recent Comcast.net related deals include:
- Acquisition of thePlatform: video delivery technology
- Acquisition of Fandango.com: movie info (and tickets)
- Acquisition of a stake in Revver: video sharing
- Launch of Ziddio.com: user-generated content
- Planned launch of Fancast.com: TV/movie portal
- Deal with Yahoo! (replacing Google): display and video ads
- Deal the News Corp/NBC Universal company: distribution to Comcast.net and Fancast.com
Acquiring Joost would round out the Comcast.net efforts (as long as FTTH is deemed unnecessary) and gives Comcast another tool in building a more or less robust delivery platform, based on the open internet (v. Comcast's still superior and proprietary cable network).