Increased use of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) by cable television operators will help boost cable's presence in the telephone service market, according to In-Stat. As more cable providers turn to VoIP over the next few years, total worldwide cable telephony subscribers will pass the 14 mln mark by late 2005, and grow to over 22 mln by year-end 2008.
As of late 2004, more than 11 mln households and businesses worldwide have signed up for cable telephony service. The long-anticipated "VoIP spike" in worldwide subscribers will actually be more of a steady rise, particularly during the 2005/2006 period, as VoIP technology works its way into more Hybrid Fiber-Coaxial (HFC) networks. While there is a great deal of excitement surrounding cable-based VoIP services, the vast majority of cable telephony subscribers still rely on circuit-switched technology. Of the 11.8 mln worldwide cable telephony subscribers at the end of 2004, less than 500,000 are using VoIP technology.