On the Telecommunications Act of 1996's anniversary, the NCTA is editing
'telecommunications' into its name.
National Cable Television Association president Robert Sachs said Tuesday
that the 'television' in the association's name is changing to
'telecommunications' to reflect business shifts that have come about since that
landmark legislation passed.
'When our industry uses the term 'cable,' we mean everything from analog
television to digital television to interactive TV and cable-modem service,'
Sachs said in a Washington Metropolitan Cable Club speech. 'However, we're now
delivering telecom services, as well. By the end of this month, cable operators
will serve 1 million residential cable-telephone customers. And cable operators
will provide more than 2 million access lines to business users.'
Sachs also talked up the consumer benefits that sprang from the act, even
though, as he noted, 'some publications' have written an 'obituary' for a law
that was supposed to lead to widespread competition for television and telephone
Direct-broadcast satellite services now claim 15 percent of U.S. homes as
customers, and cable modems prompted phone companies to cut in half the rates
they charge consumers for digital-subscriber-line data services, he said.
While widespread facilities-based phone competition is not here yet,
Internet-protocol-based services over cable are 'next up' and should lead to
broader local phone offerings, he concluded.