Study of the trend for the past five years indicates constant growth of the cable network. From 2001 to 2002 nearly 330,000 households were cabled, a figure corresponding to a growth rate of 11 percent. The average annual growth rate for the number of cabled households between 1998 and 2002 was about 13 percent.
On average, the number of cabled households represented at the end of 2002 about 67 percent of the total number of households. However, there were major variations from region to region, with the highest rate in the Lisbon and Tagus Valley region (107 percent), followed in descending order by the autonomous island regions (with 72 percent), the North Region (54 percent), Alentejo and Algarve (40 percent) and the Centre Region (36 percent).
In terms of subscribers, cable television distribution service also witnessed sustained growth. At the end of 2002, subscribers to that service reached 1,256,000, for growth of 12 percent over 2001 (which in absolute terms corresponds to nearly 137,000 new subscribers).
In terms of distribution by regions, at the end of 2002 more than half of subscribers pertained to the Lisbon and Tagus Valley Region, followed in descending order by the North, Centre, Azores and Madeira regions, and lastly by the Alentejo and Algarve.
The subscriber penetration rate, calculated as a percentage of total population, has continually increased and at the end of 2002 stood at 12 percent. The penetration rate calculated based on the number of subscribers vis-à-vis the number of existing households was 25 percent nationally at the end of 2002, with significant regional variations; the autonomous island regions and the Lisbon and Tagus Valley region registered the highest values.
Note that the number of subscribers to satellite television distribution service (DTH) is not included in subscribers to the cable television distribution service. DTH nevertheless is an important component of the activity of some of these operators and its analysis is relevant for a better understanding of the situation of paid television. At the end of 2002 the number of DTH subscribers (289,000) had already reached about a quarter the number of cable television distribution service subscribers, most of them in the North region.