Telco versus Cableco

Large Telco companies have aggressively been updating their metro and on-net building fiber footprints, while cable companies are rapidly expanding their product portfolio, coverage areas, and laying new fiber. Customers want to understand the difference between traditional IXC's and cable companies for on-net connectivity.


Pegasus Communications specializes in sorting through the companies and their vast array of products and options.


AT&T has a growing strong fiber-to-the-building program and Century Link has been expanding traditional Ethernet and their GPON-based fiber footprint to allow customers access to their expanding set of cloud and managed services. Verizon furthered their Metro Ethernet with preferred vendors and announced they are purchasing XO Communications' fiber-optic network business. Competition is fierce among other larger Telco companies with tier 3 providers like Level 3, Birch, Zayo, Earthlink and others.


Telco vs. Cableco


Traditionally, Information Technology and business consulting firms like Pegasus Communications used cable companies for DIA and point-to-point as they own the access rights. Cable companies like Time Warner Cable and Comcast now offer strong product portfolios and new fiber, commonly used for redundancy purposes and possibly surpassing traditional Telco carriers for Internet access.


As an advantage they usually cite a lower cost solution for the primary fiber circuit via a diverse network that generally provides value through backup.

Dissimilarities from Telco companies via the last mile routes, offering route diversity. (An order of fiber from two Telco providers will mean the last mile is going to ride on whichever carrier actually owns the network.

Newly built state-of-the-art, fiber, and cablecos are considered "construction companies” based on the amount of new fiber they lay in the ground.


Cablecos are hoping to support gigabit per second upload and download speeds by rolling out DOCSIS 3.1.


Fiber to buildings in the USA is still less than 100%. In order to capture enterprise and wholesale business, and gain market share and upsell services, carriers need to increase their fiber footprint. 


 Service providers with more building sites to their own network have an advantage to provide an expanding set of Ethernet and cloud services to facilitate the customer experience. The first exposure to the customer influences decisions as they sell additional services. 


Todd Gelhaar of Pegasus Communications based in Colorado says smaller state specific providers could have a big impact on speed and latency with extensive miles and connections to wireless towers and data centers catering to industry needs like retail and healthcare.

Recent provider’s acquisitions could lead to a broad reach with cost efficient options for added services.


Cableco with Telco fiber solutions combined can virtually guarantee uptime with limited to no service interruptions. The cableco circuit could be dynamic, but with the same bottleneck headaches experienced on a Telco circuit because there are simply too many current users.


Cablecos run a physical site survey for fiber upfront during the pre-sales process, ensuring the customer receives a firm price that will not change over time with minimizing cost surprises once an order is placed.


Cablecos delivering on DOCSIS 3.1 up to a gigabit level would make some DIA pipes nearly obsolete. 


About the Author

Todd Gelhaar is a director of Pegasus Communications headquartered in Denver Colorado.