Top cable lobbyist Robert Sachs told reporters Monday that his industry is on track to become the biggest provider of Internet telephone services in 2005.
“We feel this has been a very strong year in terms of growth of new services and it’s going to continue in 2005,” he said during a year-end review of the cable business. Sachs is the president of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association.
Currently, cable operators provide Internet telephony to 450,000 customers.
Cable operators also provide voice service over traditional telephone networks to another 3 million customers.
Looking ahead to 2005, Sachs said the key to keeping the industry’s new businesses growing is a “media regulatory environment that’s stable and encourages investment.”
Sachs was optimistic that the Supreme Court would uphold the FCC’s decision not to force cable operators to open their high-speed platforms to rival Internet providers. He predicted the court would hear the case in March and come out with a decision in June.
Other NCTA priorities in 2005 will be legislative and FCC reviews of Internet voice regulations, preserving tax exemptions for broadband service, continuing to fend off forced carriage of TV stations’ digital multicast channels and making sure lawmakers don’t impose new regulations on cable when it starts rewriting telecommunications laws.