Comcast is testing self installation of phone service in San Francisco, and aims to expand it across major markets in 2008. Truck rolls have always been a double edged sword. On the one hand, they provide a valuable customer touch point. On the other, they are quite expensive. Bloomberg News reports about Comcast’s self installation tests, and reveals that the strategy may save them $200 – $300 per installation. There may be more benefit. “It not only reduces costs to Comcast, but it helps accelerate the rollout,” said Thomas Eagan, a New York-based analyst with Oppenheimer & Co. Comcast projects to grow from their current voice subscriber base of 3 million to 11 million by 2010.
Contrast this with Verizon’s estimated costs of $800 – $1,000 for a FiOS installation. Verizon does not have the luxury of self installs because of their need to install a fiber drop to each home. Cable companies have a clear advantage, at least initially. They are able to leverage their coax connection to the home and conceivably limit expensive truck rolls. Verizon would counter and say that advantage will be short lived. Once a subscriber has fiber to the home, Verizon will be able to add and remove services quite easily. However short lived, the advantage is present today. And it does offer cable advantages, both in accelerating and/or easing triple play adoption, while also positively impacting cash flow and earnings.
Read this Bloomberg News article for more analysis.