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CONVERGENCE OF TELEVISION &
INTERNET: INTO THE FUTURE

      The real impact of the Internet is still to come as technological advances allow data to be fed faster and faster from point to point, and point to multiple points. Data can take the form of video, audio, photographs, graphics and text. In 1996, the standard rate of data transmission employed by the average Internet user was 14,400 bits per second (14.4kbs). By mid 1997, it had become practical for all Internet users to utilize downstream transmission rates of almost 56,000 bits per second (56kbs) over a standard telephone line. Digital phone connectivity, known as ISDN, which has also become increasingly popular and affordable throughout the United States, allows data to be transferred at speeds up to 128,000 bits per second (128kbs).

      Data transmission speeds in excess of those mentioned above will provide dramatically enhanced results, from both the standpoints of presentation and viewership potential.

      TACH management has long expressed the view that eventually only one wire will come into the average home, and that that one wire will carry all telephone, television, and data communication; with the capability of simultaneously accessing and viewing all material on the same video monitor. High-speed broadband connectivity will eliminate any discernible quality differences between video and audio that originate from an Internet source, and the video and audio that originates from a traditional television or radio broadcast outlet. This will permit the seamless blending of television and Internet content.

      With this in mind, it's exciting to know that the technology required for high-speed broadband Internet connectivity already exists. Cable TV modems, one of the solutions available, are currently being used in several markets and deliver data at transmission speeds up to 10,000,000 bits per second (10mbs). DSL technology, the technology favored by most of the telephone companies, is another proven solution for deploying broadband connectivity. Using the same twisted pair copper wires that carry standard telephone service to virtually all homes and businesses, DSL can deliver data at transmission speeds approaching 8,000,000 bits per second (8mbs) and is being touted as a much more affordable solution than cable modems. Since the year 2000 these solutions have been in use throughout the country, with dramatically increasing numbers.

      Simultaneously, ultra high-speed satellite delivered Internet service started to be deployed in 1999. This business and residential service delivers data transmission speeds of 34,000,000 bits per second (34mbs), at competitive monthly fees.

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