"Let there be no mistake about it, there are no disagreements among cable operators about the importance of launching local phone service," Willner said. "With Cox and AT&T Broadband leading the way, Insight recently joined the ranks of MSOs who are offering facilities-based local residential phone service."
The real issue for cable companies is deciding on what technology to deploy. "Some companies are concentrating on the development of Internet Protocol technology; others are moving forward with circuit switched technology," Willner explained.
Insight Communications, the industry’s eighth largest MSO, is deploying circuit-switched telephone service in Louisville, KY, and in Evansville, IN. The company is also at the forefront of the industry in deployment of interactive television services. Nationally, cable companies and their affiliates provide more than 1.3 million residential and more than 16 million business phone lines, Willner said.
Insight’s entrance into new businesses is representative of the industry’s transformation from the provider of a single service – analog video – to a competitive provider of multiple offerings. "Cable already has invested more than $50 billion in plant upgrades over the past handful of years," Willner said. "And the deployment of broadband is now widespread. Nearly two-thirds of Americans today have access to broadband connectivity to the Internet. We expect to finish the job over the next few years, ultimately spending $75 billion deploying 21st Century technology nationwide."
NCTA, the National Cable and Telecommunications Association (NCTA) is the principal trade association of the cable television industry in the United States. NCTA represents cable operators serving more than 90 percent of the nation’s cable television households and more than 150 cable program networks, as well as equipment suppliers and providers of other services to the cable industry. In addition to offering traditional video services, NCTA's members also provide broadband services such as high-speed Internet access and telecommunications services such as local exchange telephone service to customers across the United States.
Insight Communications (NASDAQ: ICCI) is the 8th largest cable operator in the United States, serving approximately 1.4 million subscribers. The company is highly concentrated in the four contiguous states of Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio. Insight specializes in offering bundled, state-of-the-art services in mid-sized communities, delivering analog and digital video, high-speed data and the recent deployment of voice telephony in selected markets to its customers.