04.15.2005 12:00 AM
Survey: Cable Theft Rates Dip
The number of cable thefts by consumers has declined by more than 50 percent in four years, according to a survey commissioned by the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) . The drop is attributed in part to the migration to digital TV.

The study reported that digital cable, high-speed Internet access and VoIP were found to have low theft rates, less than one percent. The theft rate for analog service stands at 4.65 percent (the percentage of theft per 100 homes the cable network passes) down from 11.5 percent found in the NCTA's 2000 survey.

Another way that groups are fighting theft is by identifying unauthorized connections and converting those accounts to paying subscribers.

"Cable's new advanced services not only have delivered increased value to our customers, they've also established new barriers to theft," said Nilda Gumbs, director of NCTA's office of cable signal theft.

Although theft rates are declining, the survey reported that annually the cable industry is losing $4.76 billion in unrealized revenue down from the $6 billion that the 2000 survey reported as an annual loss.

In 1986 The NCTA Office of Cable Signal Theft was created as a team efforts between NCTA and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). The organization disseminates information about the judicial, legislative, technical, marketing and operational aspects of cable signal theft.

The second annual Signal Theft Awareness Week is slated for June 20 - 24.

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