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U.S. Broadband: 2005 Year in Review

CNET reports progress during 2005 -- In the spring, SBC Communications (now AT&T) and Verizon Communications slashed their prices for DSL service to roughly $15 per month, putting broadband on par with traditionally less expensive dial-up pricing. The strategy worked as DSL providers gobbled up market share, narrowing the gap in market share between DSL and cable modem service.

Cable operators answered with ultra-fast service, especially in areas where Verizon has been marketing its own ultra-fast product, a fiber-to-the-home service called Fios, which supposedly scales to download speeds of 100mbps. Verizon plans to sell high-speed Internet access, voice service and TV programming over this network. In August 2005, Verizon launched TV service over Fios with its deployment in Keller, Texas.

Internet Protocol TV, which will allow for more interactive television viewing, also got some attention in 2005. Cisco Systems' $6.9 billion acquisition of set-top box maker Scientific-Atlanta is one sign that that market will move toward an IP-networked home, with the TV as the centerpiece.

The phone companies weren't the only ones looking for new services to bundle into packages. In November, cable companies Comcast, Time Warner, Cox Communications and Advance/Newhouse Communications announced that they are forming a $200 million joint venture with Sprint Nextel to offer customers wireless telephone service.

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