The always provocative Mark Cuban has an interesting post on his blog today. He writes:
There is a dirty little secret in the cable industry. Its being kept secret not by the cable distributors, but by the big cable networks. End this practice and the United States goes from being 3rd world by international broadband standards, to top of the charts and exemplary. … What is the dirty little secret ? That your cable company still delivers basic cable networks in analog. Why is this such an important issue ? Because each of those cable networks takes up 6mhz. That translates into about 38mbs per second. Thats 38mbs PER NETWORK. … If we want to truly change the course of broadband in this country, the solution is simple. Just as we had an analog shutdown date for over the air TV signals, we need the same resolution for analog delivered cable networks.
Obviously this would entail a government mandate to an industry, which we’re all biased against. If it really were so easy, I would expect to see the cable industry make the move on its own—if nothing else to respond to FIOS. But all that aside, my question to the cable-savvy folks I know read this blog is this: how true is Cuban’s claim? How much “spectrum in a tube” is really potentially available? How difficult would it be to make a digital transition in cable?