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Democracy & Technology Blog Cable broadband success

Kyle McSlarrow, president and CEO of the National Cable and Telecommunications Association, cited the following numbers in a recent speech to the Media Institute (available here).

  • Cable’s broadband service is already available to 94% of all American households, and more than 30 million households subscribe to the high speed service provided by their local cable operator.
  • Using our broadband network, the cable industry now markets telephone service to more than 90 million homes and serves 10 million residential customers.
  • [M]ore than 33 million customers — more than half of all cable subscribers — currently purchase “digital tiers” of video, which include hundreds of additional channels of video programming and CD-quality music.
  • [T]here are already 30 cable networks transmitting in HD, with many more to come.

McSlarrow talked about the need to finish the job of deregulating telecommunications, instead of deregulating some but not others. He’s absolutely right.
In the past, deregulation has been a bipartisan objective — a point that McSlarrow highlights nicely:

It is important to think of this as a systemic reform, without reference to parties or personalities. In the case of the cable industry, it is hard to overstate how important it was to have former Chairman Bill Kennard hold the line against non-facilities-based Internet Service Providers (ISPs) demanding government-mandated access to the broadband pipe, or to have former Chairman Michael Powell lead the way to ensure cable’s broadband service was left largely unregulated, a decision Chairman Martin extended to other broadband providers. Those decisions to resist the impulse to regulate helped unleash enormous investment.

Hance Haney

Director and Senior Fellow of the Technology & Democracy Project
Hance Haney served as Director and Senior Fellow of the Technology & Democracy Project at the Discovery Institute, in Washington, D.C. Haney spent ten years as an aide to former Senator Bob Packwood (OR), and advised him in his capacity as chairman of the Senate Communications Subcommittee during the deliberations leading to the Telecommunications Act of 1996. He subsequently held various positions with the United States Telecom Association and Qwest Communications. He earned a B.A. in history from Willamette University and a J.D. from Lewis and Clark Law School in Portland, Oregon.