Cable Rushes The Net

The industry dives into telecom and reinvents itself for the Internet Age

Not that long ago, the cable-TV industry looked like such a poor bet that the leading company, TeleCommunications Inc., figured the best way to boost profits would be to sell off stakes in local operations across the country. Cable losses were deepening as regulators tried to limit rate hikes even as programming costs soared. The vision that John C. Malone had painted in the early 1990s--a 500-channel "Information Superhighway"--crumbled. At their depths, in early 1997, cable stocks were off about 40%.

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