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The U.S. cable modem customer base will top 10 million at the end of the third quarter 2002, according to the National Cable & Telecommunications Association.

The milestone "reflects continued steady growth in consumer demand for cable broadband services," said Robert Sachs, NCTA president and CEO.

The number of cable modem customers in the United States has grown from a base of 10,000 at the end of 1996. At the end of last year, the industry had 7.2 million customers.

There is still room for growth, according to NCTA. Cable modem services are available to more than 75 million households in the United States, with 50 million of these households having a personal computer. "The 10 million cable modem customer mark represents more than 20 percent of the households with personal computers that are passed by cable systems where high-speed data service is available," said Sachs.

Collectively since 1996, the cable industry has invested more than $65 billion to upgrade systems to enable the delivery of advanced digital services, according to NCTA. This investment averages out to roughly $1,000 per customer.

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