Another weird summer rumor. Latvenergo, the Latvian electric utility, has been doing some market research about cable TV in a Riga neighborhood. This according to a source in Poland at the moment (where all kinds of PR, analyst, and even journalist types--not me-- have flocked to the U2 concert). The idea seems to be that Latvenergo would deliver cable to homes, just exactly how is unclear. For new buildings, Latvenergo has probably discreetly offered to run fiber to the building while installing the necessary electrical connections (this kind of bundling has been criticized by the telecoms and internet companies). For older buildings, it isn't clear what the electric utility could do. Internet over powerlines is a possibility, but can the wires carry enougfh bandwidth for TV?
Another possibility is that Latvenergo is offering some kind of carrier capacity deal to the existing cable operators to give them a larger footprint (connecting via Latvenergo's net to areas where they have no fiber or coax or MMDS wireless service). That would also make some kind of sense.
In the US, a cursory Google shows that there are a number of small and medium-sized towns where the local public utility combines electricity, telephone, internet and cable TV in a kind of quad-play (US baseball fans would call it a home run :) ). So this is quite doable. Will hopefully be talking to the head of Latvenergo Telecom tommorrow, so watch this space.
Another tidbid, this one IT related...
The newsfeed website www.newsisfree.com runs on a solution developed in Latvia by Lursoft, the business information and database company that maintains Latvia's commercial register. They've done some other stuff, too. Interesting. More, maybe. Not like a certain newspaper, whose self-defined target audience is the Latvian Jed Clampett (of the Beverly Hillbillies), Ķencis, is going to be jumping all over this story. So you may read it here first.