Former Sanford Bernstein analyst Craig Moffett is the
go to quote machine for mainstream media when writing about the telecom industry (do a Google News search
), though he's building quite a reputation for being inconsistent. Now at his own firm, Moffett recently did a complete 180 on cord cutting
, going from mocking them and pretending they didn't exist a few years back, to acknowledging they're a serious trend worth watching. He of course made sure to avoid acknowledging he was wrong.
Now Moffett is apparently doing the same thing for Verizon FiOS.
Just a few years back, Moffett regularly mocked FiOS as a disastrous decision
, insisting that Verizon's $24 billion investment in last mile fiber would shove Verizon into a huge operational hole because Verizon was "giving people a Maserati at the price of a Volkswagen
." In fact, Moffett took things further, generally attacking any real investment in broadband infrastructure
by anybody. Even cable operators pondering huge benefits from relatively inexpensive DOCSIS 3.0 upgrades.
That was then, this is now. At his own firm, Moffett appears to have pulled a complete 180 on FiOS, and is now gushing about how the investment is paying off in spades for Verizon
Moffett's latest analysis suggests that "FiOS will sustain subscriber growth longer than either we or Verizon had projected, and that FiOS will ultimately achieve higher penetration rates than either we or Verizon had originally targeted," researchers wrote.
Even in some of its oldest markets, where Verizon has been marketing FiOS for seven years, FiOS still saw growth rates of 6.4% on 2012, wrote Moffett. Because FiOS uses fiber-to-the-home it is better positioned to compete against the cable companies than offerings based on legacy copper or fiber-to-the-node, Moffett researchers argue.
"Verizon's FiOS is overwhelmingly the largest and most important FTTH network in the U.S.," the researchers wrote. "For comparison, Verizon's FiOS covers 14% of American homes; Google's fledgling fiber network, at least based on the three markets that have been disclosed up to now . . . will cover less than ½% to 1% when it is eventually completed."
Like his 180 on cord cutting, that's really quite a stark shift in viewpoint from when Moffett was at Sanford Bernstein attacking FiOS investment on a regular basis. Now at his own firm (and perhaps free of the pressures to push particular stocks) Moffett suddenly seems to be making a bit more sense.