DENVER - America's largest cable operator reported a 69% drop in fourth-quarter earnings, due primarily to under-performing investments, an increase in its tax rate and litigation.
    Comcast's net income for the quarter sank year-on-year to $133 million (€110.64m; £75.46m) from $423 million. The shortfall is mainly attributable to a loss in value of the 26 million shares in Sprint Nextel, which Comcast has held since the late 1990s when Sprint bought out its cable partners.
    However, the cable company's fourth-quarter revenue increased 9% to $5.72 billion from the year earlier period.
   Comcast is aiming for one million new internet-phone customers in 2006, hoping to lure them with a $99 per-month 'triple play' package of TV, VoIP telephony and highspeed internet services.