WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Cable operators will end the third quarter of 2002 (July 1 to September 30) with more than 10 million customers for high speed Internet access service, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) said today.

“Surpassing 10 million high speed Internet customers is a significant milestone for the cable industry and reflects continued steady growth in consumer demand for cable broadband services,” said Robert Sachs, President and CEO, NCTA.

Cable modem service via upgraded broadband cable systems is now available to more than 75 million U.S. households. Of these homes, an estimated 50 million own personal computers, based upon national averages, NCTA said.

“The 10 million cable modem customer mark represents more than 20 percent of households with personal computers that are passed by cable systems where high speed data service is available,” Sachs said.

Over the past six years, the number of cable modem customers in the United States has dramatically grown. From a base of 10,000 at the end of 1996, the number increased to 74,000 by the end of 1997; a half million by the end of 1998; 1.6 million by the end of 1999; 3.7 million at the end of 2000, and 7.2 million at the end of last year.

Cable modem service provides access to the Internet and World Wide Web at speeds many times faster than dial-up telephone service. Cable modem customers are able to take full advantage of broadband, Internet-based applications, including streaming video and audio, robust Web surfing, and rapid downloading of large data files.

Since 1996, cable operators have invested more than $65 billion – about $1,000 per customer – to upgrade cable systems with optical fiber in order to provide consumers with an array of advanced digital broadband services including interactive digital cable, high definition television, broadband Internet access, and digital local telephone service.

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