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McClatchy-Tribune  08/31/2014 8:38 AM ET
Cable broadband subscribers eclipse TV subscribers for first time [The Times-Tribune, Scranton, Pa. :: ]

Aug. 31--For the first time ever, cable companies have more Internet broadband subscribers than TV service subscribers, a new report says.

Leichtman Research Group found the top cable providers served 49,915,000 broadband subscribers compared with 49,910,000 TV subscribers.

The seventeen largest cable and telephone providers in the US -- representing about 93 percent of the market -- brought on nearly 385,000 net additional high-speed Internet subscribers in the second quarter of 2014, according to the Leichtman report.

These top broadband providers now account for over 85.9 million subscribers -- with top cable companies having nearly 50.7 million broadband subscribers, and top telephone companies having over 35.2 million subscribers.

"With the addition of more than 30 million broadband subscribers over the past decade, cable providers have clearly expanded well beyond their roots in cable TV service," said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group, Inc.

A Comcast spokesman declined to comment on report.

Service Electric Cablevision can offer Internet customers anywhere from 5 megabytes per second to 100 megabytes per second, which is faster than other alternatives in their Hazleton and Schuylkill County service area.

"We've seen a steady, definitive increase of people adding Internet to their cable," said Tim Trently, general manager of Service Electric Cablevision.

Metro Cast cable is seeing similar results, said Tom Carey, general manager of the cable company, which serves White Haven, Weatherly, Berwick and a good part of the Susquehanna Valley.

"Our high-speed Internet product is very popular, and in years to come, we will probably see the trend the rest of the country is seeing now," he said.

Statistics show that even the average person is taking advantage of the latest technology, said Anthony Liuzzo, Ph.D., professor of business and economics and director of Arizona business programs for Wilkes University.

"This explosion shows that technology is reaching the average person, not just the technophiles. It is in full force, and will continue," he said.

Dr. Liuzzo said he sees everything will eventually be wireless.

"In the future, it will be automatic, not only for your television, but also for your microwave, coffee maker and washing machine. Every appliance will be able to take advantage of the technology. Everything will be wireless."

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