The National Cable Television Association Conference held in the second week of May differed from earlier ones in that the industry has now become enthusiastic about data communication. Five years ago there was no visible interest. In the past two years a number of NCTA members have begun to offer Internet connections to home users. Manhattan Cable earned as much from data transmission as from delivery of television via cable. This year, a majority are rebuilding their systems to provide greater bandwidth in order to attract the business and educational markets. The equivalent of T-1 (1.5 Mbps) will be widely available with-in two years. In June, AT&T announced a proposed merger with TCI, the largest cable company in the U.S.
Forward thinking libraries will contact local cable companies to determine whether they can, or will soon be able to, support two-way communication, including data; the bandwidths available; the equipment required, and costs.