Seattle, WA -- While cable telephony is still a relatively young business, cable companies now serve some 1.3 million residential subscribers in 20 states, according to a just-released National Cable & Telecommunications Association white paper: "Cable Telephony: Offering Consumers Competitive Choice."

Additionally, five major cable companies or their affiliates – Adelphia Business Solutions, Cablevision Lightpath, Comcast Business Communication, Cox Fibernet/Cox Business Service and Time Warner Telecom – are providing business telephony services in more than 100 markets.

The cable industry’s initial foray into telephony has been based upon traditional circuit-switched technologies. They represent some of the first, and in many cases only, facilities-based deployments of residential telephony in competition with incumbent local exchange companies. Customers who choose cable telephony services typically receive lower prices along with the same level of service and options as local exchange carrier-provided service.

Cable operators also are launching their telephony services in diverse markets. "The cable industry does not intend to leave rural America or economically distressed urban neighborhoods behind," NCTA President and CEO Robert Sachs told a National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) conference in Seattle, where the white paper was released.

NCTA expects competitive telephony deployments to accelerate further when commercial viability of Voice over Internet Protocol – now undergoing research and testing -- is assured. "VoIP is not only an incremental expense, it utilizes the data path the industry already has built, and should allow for easy software changes and additions to service packages, and innovative combinations of voice, data, and fax services," the white paper explains.

AOL Time Warner, Charter Communications and Armstrong Cable are among operators that currently are conducting residential technical trials of VoIP service. The trials are detailed in the report.

"Cable Telephony: Offering Consumer Competitive Choice" documents current cable operator telephony deployments, and describes and compares circuit-switched and VoIP telephony technologies. It is available at www.NCTA.com.

The National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA), formerly the National Cable Television Association, 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.

Visit us at www.ncta.com for the latest information about the cable industry, including: recent press releases; industry statistics; NCTA regulatory and court filings; cable’s commitment to customer service; quality programming; and education and technology initiatives.

Click on the link above for a copy of the Cable Telephony White Paper.

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