Cable TV

Cable in US gears up for multiple broadband services

MUMBAI: The cable industry in the US is making massive investments to upgrade a nationwide broadband infrastructure for offering new interactive digital services.

The sector has pumped in a capital expenditure of $10.13 billion in 2004, according to a report by National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA). And in the period between 1996 and mid-2005 nearly $100 billion was invested, enabling cable operators to offer multiple broadband services including digital video, high-speed Internet, Video-on-Demand (VoD) and digital voice services.

Supported by the infrastructure, the cable industry in the US is seeing a fast phase of growth. Cable's high-speed Internet service attracted 22.2 million customers at the end of the first quarter of 2005, even as they faced stiff competition from digital subscriber line (DSL) services offered by telephone companies. Stepping up high-speed Internet access, operators are now offering downstream speeds of 5 mbps on their cable modems.

"More than one-quarter of all cable households today subscribe to cable's high-speed data service, and among those cable households with Internet access, nearly 30 per cent are cable modem customers," says the NCTA report.

"More than one-quarter of all cable households today subscribe to cable's high-speed data service, and among those cable households with Internet access, nearly 30 per cent are cable modem customers," says the NCTA report.

As value add to cable Internet, operators are also offering features like integrated security suites, pop-up blocking and spam filtering, video e-mail, and specialised content.

Digital cable customers have grown to 26 million while 3.5 million subscribers were taking telephone service from their local cable operators at the first quarter end of 2005. This included traditional circuit-switched telephone and more of Cable VoIP (Voice over Internet protocol) service. Kagan Research says VoIP subscribers increased from 587,000 in the fourth quarter of 2004 to 921,000 in the first quarter of 2005.

Broadband services are offering wide diversity in choice and personalisation. "Cable in 2005 is seeking to perpetuate those benefits by swiftly bringing to market broadband-empowered and affordable services in a consumer friendly and socially responsible way," the report says.

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