To young to remember Cable's woes in the mid 90's.
I guess that when the cable industry was having it's clock cleaned by the direct broadcast satellite industry in the mid 90's. Mr. Moffett was still rolling over in his crib crapping his diaper. Cable customers were given the choice of 55 channels of poor quality cable service versus well over 100 channels of Direct Broadcast Satellite service. The cable industry soon lost so many customers that they supported development of digital cable and upgraded their networks to support 750MHz bandwidth. If Mr. Moffett will pull his head out of his anus he will realize that Verizon is ready to clean the clocks of any cable companies that are in the same market as Verizon's FiOS. If all of the Telephone Companies would upgrade their networks to fiber the cable industry would have their broadband customers leave in droves when they tried to employ caps.
I don't know if I would use the term "cleaned their clocks" I was on a small street of 20 homes and I know I was the only one that switched to DBS service in the mid 90s.
1. The costs of connecting two TV sets (and two was the limit as multiswitches hadn't been put on the market yet) was close to $1500 for the good Sony system (the RCAs were crap at that point). We still had to keep basic cable for some of the other sets in the house (and to get locals)
2. Once the multiswitches were available..we could drop cable completely (once Spot Beams were deployed and we could get the local channels) but it was still rather expensive ($300) to hook up each additional TV (and we were still limited to 4 at the time but that was OK, we had 4 sets).
But back then, DBS service was a high-end product it wasn't necessarily sold to be a replacement for people with Basic cable but did represent some value to people who were into movies and sports and could live with some of the limitations early on. Actually, I think DirecTV and Dish would do well to go back to this mode of operation instead of trying to be "Cable Companies in the Sky" but that is another post.
So in my middle-class neighborhood, DBS had a penetration rate of 1 in 20. Actually when Americast came through the neighborhood they had much better luck as they got half the neighborhood to switch as it was standard cable service.