It was one of those cab-ride conversations, in this case with a cable lawyer. Talk turned to the industry’s increasingly sophisticated technical workforce and persistent popular images to the contrary, such as "The Cable Guy." How far that film fueled negative images of the industry is an open question. The Jim Carrey figure arguably represented creepy stalkers at large more than employees in any one industry. But that film got under the skin of many cable people (such as my cab-mate, who suspected telco support.) It certainly entered the industry’s lexicon. Note the title to the Cable-Tec Expo paper of NCTI VP and Chief Learning Officer Alan Babcock: "Cable Guy Meets R2D2: Migrating the Workforce from Analog to Digital." But at least here the images are useful. The industry, indeed, needs a motivated and technically savvy workforce. Where customer interaction is required, it also needs employees highly adept at interpersonal relations. So how well is the industry tracking with these goals? For evidence of technicians’ going beyond the call of duty, turn to the back of the magazine for a look at this month’s "Top Techs," two heroic Comcast employees who saved the life of a child. Every few months, we plan to highlight other such industry all-stars. On the other hand, visit the Aug. 9 issue of CT’s Pipeline, available in the archives at our Web site ( to find one letter pointing out higher wages available elsewhere and another that makes an even stronger point about the lack of serious training in his company. In other words, success notwithstanding, this industry has miles to go before it sleeps. Jonathan Tombes

The Daily


Mediacom Sees 24% FCF Jump

The pandemic continued to drive strong broadband gains for Mediacom in 4Q20, with the company reporting an 8.3% YOY jump in broadband customers. Adjusted OIBDA rose 16.3% to $246.8 million, while free cash

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