Boston -- National Cable & Telecommunications Association
president and CEO Michael Powell kicked off The Cable Show here on Monday,
pointing to cable's strong contribution to the national infrastructure and
economy, while attempting to silence critics calling for more industry
Powell opened the show by pointing to cable's successes --
broadband is available in 93% of American homes, both rural and urban, and the
industry has increased Internet speeds by 900% in a decade.
"Leaders take risks, and the cable industry chose to bet big
on the promise of delivering broadband," Powell said. "It was an ambitious and
risky play, but one that I know is paying off for consumers. Over the doubts of
many, cable got the job done. Our industry has invested nearly $200 billion of
capital to build the infrastructure to get America online."
Despite broadband's success, Powell added, much more work
needs to be done.
"Many Americans are still not online, and that needs to
change," Powell said, adding that cable is partnering with the Federal
Communications Commission to bring inexpensive broadband to low-income homes across
"A child without access to the Internet will find life
increasingly too difficult in the information age," Powell said.
He also pointed to critics who would seek to further
regulate the industry, adding that cable distributors aren't turning a deaf ear
to those cries.
"Rather than dismiss concerns, we will respect them, guided
by our commitment to provide a better experience to consumers," Powell said,
adding that efforts to move the industry toward a more highly regulated
European model would be a "disaster."
Earlier, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick praised the
industry for its contributions to the national infrastructure, adding that his
state has used its relationship with cable to help drive economic growth.
"You are all in the right place at the right time," Patrick,
a Democrat, said in his keynote address. "We have a winning growth strategy and
this industry has an important role in it."
Patrick pointed to his three-pronged approach to economic
growth: Education, Infrastructure and Innovation.
Cable's contribution to infrastructure and innovation - its
broadband product - has been an essential component to the state's growth,
The governor added that Massachusetts has moved from 47th in
the country, in terms of job creation, in 2006 to the top 10 today, its
unemployment rate of 6.3% is well below the national average and is falling,
and it is first in the nation in terms of student achievement, health care
coverage, energy efficiency and has the highest bond rating in the state's history.
He added that the state has achieved those goals by not
being afraid to invest in its future.
That's what we're doing in the commonwealth; that's what
this industry has been a part of," Patrick said. "I just wanted to come by and
thank you for being partners in that good work with us."