WASHINGTON, June 10, 2013 — The role of broadband as a major driving force for innovation in the cable industry was a major focus of the opening session at the National Cable and Telecommunications Association’s annual Cable Show on Monday.
Michael Powell, president and CEO of NCTA, delivered the keynote speech at the session. He emphasized the role of broadband in facilitating developments that have allowed cable to be accessible at nearly any time and any place. However, he also noted the importance of continued research and innovation.
“We are on an endless journey to deliver an exceptional experience to American consumers and businesses,” Powell said.
The key to this improvement is to embrace broadband, he said. Since the 1990s, cable companies have invested $200 billion in expanding and improving broadband service. As a result, 93 percent of homes have access to broadband, and speeds have increased by 1500 percent within the last decade, yet costs for the consumer have stayed relatively low, he said.
“While speeds have skyrocketed, the price for consumers has not,” Powell said.
Two panel discussions in the session also addressed the role of broadband in the cable industry. In the first panel, focusing on broadband innovation, Ali Rowghani, chief operating officer of Twitter, encouraged industry leaders to view broadband as an enabler for consumers. In another panel on content creation, Josh Sapan, president and CEO of AMC Networks, discussed the use of releasing web content to generate interest between seasons of shows.
Powell also praised America’s progress in developing national broadband coverage. Many critical comparisons to other countries, such as South Korea or France, are false and unfair due to drastic differences in population density, he claimed.
“Our challenges are different, but our results are nonetheless impressive,” Powell said.
The greatest obstacle to broadband development is adoption, he claimed. Cable companies have worked with government programs, as well as providing their own incentives, to encourage consumers to adopt broadband services and take advantage of the benefits to education, job opportunities, healthcare, and community connection that it can bring. However, Powell noted that one quarter of Americans still choose not to receive broadband service even though it is available.
“We want every American to have access to broadband,” he said.