The cable technician is most often the face of the cable industry in the consumer residence. The tech visits the home; the tech installs and repairs the equipment; and the tech frequently bears the brunt of the subscriber’s ire.

Many times that ire has nothing to do with technology and everything to do with perceptions – real or otherwise – about the overall cable industry, which, surveys continue to indicate, is not seen in the best light by many of its customers. Enter the insider For that reason alone, it makes sense to have Kyle McSlarrow, president and CEO of the NCTA, as the keynote speaker for this year’s Cable-Tec Expo – even if McSlarrow is a policy guy more knowledgeable about insider Washington deals than inside home wiring.

"I think our members need to hear what the agenda and priorities are in Washington so that we can make sure the engineering and technology networks are in sync with the public policy efforts," said John Clark, president-CEO of the SCTE. "A lot of our members will get that through their own companies, but I think hearing Kyle lay it out and seeing his vision will be fascinating information for our attendees."

The keynote and the invitation to deliver it, Clark emphasized, don’t indicate of a new direction for SCTE.

"There has always been a recognition that technology and engineering and customer service and satisfaction have been important pieces of public policy," he said. Beyond technology Customer service goes beyond customer satisfaction with the technology. The gear might work, but if the subscriber is still steamed about the latest price increase, it helps to have some understanding of how the industry’s dealing with those issues on a higher level.

"Often the SCTE members are the front line and the face of the cable companies. We’re finding out that the competitive battlefield is not only about technology, but also about people," Clark said. "The role of the technician has gotten more complicated as we move into the triple play, but, because of the inside-the-home issue, it’s a people skill position as well."

And who better to talk about people skills than the industry’s chief contact with the government? – Jim Barthold

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