From First to Future


“Cable. It’s more than TV. It’s how we

Those are not just words from the new awareness campaign
that NCTA recently launched. They truly get to the
heart of where our industry lives today. We’ve
always connected people to television, from the
early days of wiring homes so that people could
see a few over-the-air broadcast stations. But
cable is no longer just the connection itself. It’s
how we connect to loved ones, friends, and the
world beyond our homes and schools.

This week, we bring cable’s message to Boston,
a great pioneering city of fi rsts — the first public
school and the first subway system in America,
just to name a few. Cable, too, is the home of
many “fi rsts” — including having been the first
provider of residential broadband in America.

It was a mere 16 years ago when home broadband
services were first commercially launched
in the U.S. — including places not far from the Cable Show,
in Portland, Maine, and the suburbs west of Boston. Since
then, cable operators have invested more than $185 billion
to create the affordable, world-class broadband available
today to 93% of American households. About 70% of homes
subscribe and enjoy that broadband service. In fact, broadband
adoption in the U.S. has been quicker than any other
network-based service including telephone, home electricity,
television and even wireless phone service.

Broadband has changed our world. In a few short years, it
has changed the daily routines of how millions learn, connect
with family and friends, watch programming, and the
ability to buy music, apply for jobs, travel, track our finances
and much more. Broadband has brought us better educational
opportunities, access to telemedicine, great entertainment
and, of course, it has created jobs.

Broadband helped America create the “Internet Economy”
and continues to lead it. Many of the leading infrastructure
technologies, be it cable modems or fiber-optic
cable, were either invented or perfected right here.

Broadband has also enabled us to enjoy cable’s creative
content on devices large and small and places far away
from the living room. Access to this awesome array of
content is further driving broadband adoption and demonstrating
how the entire cable ecosystem is
creating America’s information age.

Broadband goes beyond just creating the Internet
economy — it has created new jobs for
all kinds of workers, and made other jobs easier
and more accessible. Ask the small businessperson
in a West Virginia town how the
Internet changed his or her marketplace. Or
ask the woman selling custom-crafted jewelry
online from western Massachusetts how
broadband provided for a career change without
extensive investment in a brick-and-mortar
storefront. Cable connects these people,
and others like them, to the world so they can
meet customer demands, grow their bottom
lines and contribute to the economy.

Just as Boston continues to grow and evolve, we’re not finished
yet either. Here in a city world renowned for innovation
in medicine, higher education, technology and research, we
can proudly say we will continue to push the boundaries of
our own innovation. More investment is on the horizon as operators
are projected to invest more than $10 billion annually
for the foreseeable future to constantly look ahead, anticipate
consumer needs and create the future today.

We have instant access to infinite possibilities for our lives,
our families, our work and our communities. The many colonists
and revolutionaries who walked the cobblestone streets
of this historic city never could have dreamed of something
this big, but they certainly would have been delighted to see
what broadband has done for future generations. Broadband
has given many of us a real opportunity to share in a special
American dream for the Information Age.

Michael Powell is president and CEO of the National
Cable & Telecommunications Association.