Interactive services spur cable growth

With broadband technology now available to an estimated 95 million U.S. homes, the cable industry’s wide-scale deployment of interactive services continued at a rapid pace during the first half of 2004, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) said in its 2004 Mid-Year Industry Overview.

NCTA reports that cable operators in many communities are now offering consumers video-on-demand (VOD) and digital video recorders (DVR) in addition to high-speed Internet service, HDTV and local telephone service.

The report said cable operators have invested $85 billion since 1996 — or $1200 per customer — to upgrade networks with fiber-optic broadband technology that provides a platform for the delivery of multiple interactive services. The 95 million homes that have access to cable’s advanced services represent 88 percent of total homes passed by a local cable system.

Cable operators had 22.9 million digital cable, 17.3 million high-speed Internet and 2.7 million cable telephone subscribers at the end of the first quarter. NCTA said that growth in local telephone subscribers is expected to grow steadily this year and next as several cable operators are actively testing or deploying voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) telephone service, which connects calls through Internet technology by using data packets to transmit voice signals.

At the end of the first quarter, 84 million U.S. homes could receive a package of HD channels from their local cable operator while the amount of cable HDTV programming has increased steadily.

A copy of the 2004 Mid-Year Industry Overview can be downloaded from the NCTA Web site, at or can requested by e-mail.

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