Comcast's David Cohen: U.S. Broadband Is World Class

Says Companies Have Invested $1.2 Trillion in Past Couple of Decades 5/23/2013 12:23 PM Eastern

Comcast EVP David Cohen stood up tall for U.S. broadband Thursday (May 23), saying Americans "are getting world-class broadband from competing companies, and it’s getting better every day."

He ascribed to parochial agendas the "running down" of U.S. broadband buildouts by some critics and members of the press who he said use "selective statistics" to back "unsupported hypothesis" that high-speed is not "first rate."

He was speaking at a Mayors' Innovation Summit in Philadelphia (Cohen was a top aide for former Philadelphia Mayor Ed Rendell).

Cohen cited the staggering figure tot $1.2 trillion he said the U.S. broadband industry has invested in less than two decades to build out broadband infrastructure. He pointed out that is more than the entire GDP of South Korea.

He said in Comcast's case, and the majority of other companies, that was all private capital. "We received no government subsidies or guaranteed loans," he said. Even in the recession beinning in 2007, broadband companies have spent $250 billion, he said.

That investment has translated into almost 2 million U.S. jobs and 11 broadband speed increases in 11 years in the case of Comcast, "generally with no price increase....About 82% of U.S. households already have access to speeds of 100 megabits or faster, [while] n Europe, that figure is about 2% today," he said, citing the New York Times.

Cohen had a "been there, doing that" answer to the current flurry of 1 gigabit broadband announcements by Google. "While we’ll have a lot of fun today speculating about a what-if future of 1 Gigabit speeds," he said. "[T]he fact is: that future is already here for those who can use it."

Comcast first showcased its ability to deliver gigabit speeds two years ago, at the National Cable Show in Chicago—over the Comcast plant—well before anyone else was talking about it. And in the past year, we started offering our business customers speeds of up to 10 Gigs. Where there’s a market for greater speeds, we are determined to meet the needs of that market, and our existing network can do that."

He also pointed out that DOCSIS 3.1, which he expected to start deploying in 2015, will be able to deliver several gigbits per second.

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