With universal deployment of broadband service in the U.S. being a Presidential priority, it’s only appropriate that cable’s broadband services will be front and center at this week’s National Show. Broadband will be such an integral part of the show that attendees of the general sessions will be literally seated in the back yard of the Broadband Home. (More on that later.) No industry in America has done more than cable to bring new broadband services to consumers in cities, towns and rural communities nationwide. But still, broadband is not ubiquitous. We applaud President Bush, FCC Chairman Powell and congressional leaders who have called for policies to further encourage broadband investment. To cable companies, "broadband" means much more than high-speed Internet access. Broadband also means the ability to deliver hundreds of cable channels and crystal clear high- definition TV. It allows customers to customize television viewing through interactive services like Video-On-Demand and Digital Video Recorders. And it supports Voice Over IP services which will provide the significant cost savings and true local phone competition. How important is broadband to the cable industry? Just consider the statistics. Cable now has 22 million digital cable, 16 million high-speed Internet and 2.5 million telephone customers. And we’re seeing growth in new services such as HDTV and VoIP. Broadband services, both the services that are delivered today and those that are the promise of tomorrow, will be on display throughout the exhibit floor at The 2004 National Show. Two exhibits that will anchor the show floor – NCTA’s Broadband Home and CableLabs’ CableNETr – will encompass virtually all of cable’s advanced services. In fact, the Broadband Home has been so thoroughly integrated into the show floor that its back porch will also serve as the main stage for several of our General Sessions. In reflecting on the cable’s growth during the last year, consider the growth in deployment of HDTV. Today, 84 million homes are passed by a cable system that offers high- definition programming, growth of 65 percent since we gathered last year in Chicago. The number of cable networks providing high-definition programming has doubled with 16 networks offering a selection of movies, sports and general interest offerings. Cable’s investments don’t stop with new technology and better programming. Cable companies have also invested in tools and training to provide better customer service and help consumers understand how these many new broadband services can simplify their lives. All of cable’s investments make this industry a significant contributor to the economy, one that makes a positive impact in thousands of communities nationwide. Direct and indirect employment attributable to the cable industry topped one million people at the end of 2002, and our industry is creating new jobs every day. As cable brings broadband home to consumers across the United States, we should be proud about our accomplishments and excited about our broadband future.

The Daily

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