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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

波士頓刻正舉辦 The Cable Show

康卡斯有線電視執行長史密(Neil Smit)(左)和透納(Turner)廣播系統執行長肯特(Philp Kent)(右)。(菊子攝)

麻州州長派區克(Deval Patrick)

麻州州長派區克(Deval Patrick)(左)和Michael Powell在The Cable Show中交接舞台。

Michael Powell's Opening Remarks at The Cable Show 2012


Welcome to the great city of Boston and to the 2012 Cable Show. When I joined NCTA a year ago we set out to bring more creativity and energy into the industry. Our efforts are bearing fruit and you will see it reflected throughout this gorgeous convention hall. And our new ad campaign, which is up in Washington, reflects the emotional connection we hope to get across in telling our story. Let's take a look.
Cable is thriving with new energy, new products and a very promising future. As the ad makes clear, cable is the platform that offers instant access to infinite possibilities-to great programming, the web, friends and family, and the hottest Internet applications and devices. Cable is how we connect to the world and to one another.
Americans adore television. We watch about 147 hours of TV per month-which may not be entirely healthy, but there is no escaping the immense pleasure we get from the tube. Television is the original social medium. Watching is a communal experience; sharing what was on last night, convincing a friend to jump on the bandwagon of your favorite show and to catch up quickly so you can talk about it. The joy we feel watching something inspiring, the laughs we share taking in a great comedy, and the exhilaration we feel when our favorite team hits the winning shot at the buzzer is available to us because the cable industry took a mediocre TV experience and made it better.
Once upon a time, Americans had only three channels that signed off at midnight to the sounds of the Star Spangled Banner. There was little diversity of content and static-riddled pictures. Cable delivered a better technology that improved reception, expanded and diversified what we watch and gave artists a better canvas for making quality shows.

Dramas like Homeland and Mad Men, educational content from Discovery and History, kids programming on Nickelodeon, Sports Center on ESPN, cooking shows on Food Network and news and public affairs from fixtures like CNN, C-SPAN, CNBC and Fox News have made television a rich experience. The fact that so many Americans stuck with cable during the recession is a testament to our value and stability.
But electronic communications does not stand still. The Internet may be the most extraordinary advance in the history of information, ushering in a new age of infinite possibilities. Leaders take risks, and the cable industry chose to bet big on the promise of delivering broadband. It was an ambitious and risky play, but one that is now paying off for consumers.
Over the doubts of many, cable got the job done. Our industry has invested nearly $200 billion of private capital to build the infrastructure to get America online. The men and women who serve our industry painstakingly dug, pulled, and connected homes to the Internet across the nation. And they did it without shovel-ready stimulus funds from the government.
Cable broadband now reaches 93 percent of homes-rich, poor, urban and rural. But the industry has never stopped pushing forward. We have increased broadband speeds over 900 percent in a decade. And we are on the verge of deploying additional technology to reach speeds so fast, the Internet itself may be unable to deliver content fast enough to match cable’s last mile.
This incredible network makes it possible for us to tweet, friend and google, which are now household words. Amazon was a river in South America until nationwide broadband service made it the world’s largest online retailer. Last week Facebook launched the richest IPO in history for a tech company. We congratulate them, and the California Department of Revenue thanks them. That kind of extraordinary American success is only possible because of the rich and robust platform that supports it. We celebrate these successes and our progress but there is more work to do.
Many Americans still are not online and that needs to change. Cable is working to increase adoption by partnering with the FCC to launch a low cost broadband service to low income families across America. This is critical because a child without access to the Internet will find life increasingly difficult in the Information Age.
For all cable has proudly done so far, we owe the consumer more. Consumers want an imaginative future that blends the power of the web with the magic of television. This industry has never been content to rest on aging business models. It has always looked to the future to provide consumers with the next exciting thing. Too many incumbent industries have failed to keep pace with consumer preferences and disruptive technologies, but cable will not be one of them.
We all know the challenges consumers face in today’s dizzying digital marketplace. The consumer experience should be simpler-easier to find the content we want, easier interfaces to control our experience and less reliance on clunky set-top boxes. We want the ability to get the content that we have paid for here, there and everywhere. We say to consumers – we’ve heard your wish and we are working to make it come true, by delivering cable content to iPads, Xboxes, smartphones and whatever that next cool thing is that pops out. You should get greater value for what you pay- including additional services, content on other devices, and content that cannot be found elsewhere.
We have embarked upon an exciting period of intense innovation. Cable is experimenting with more portable services, fairer pricing models and more web integration. It is a work in progress. There will be adjustments along the way. We face competition and that is healthy. Wireless broadband is enjoying astronomical growth. Telcos remain in the thick of the fight. And, satellite companies continue to battle, convinced that you will end up in a ditch, sell your hair to a wig shop, or have a grandkid with a nose ring if you don’t “get rid of cable.” There is also a place for Internet video providers to compete and complement the cable model and some consumers may even cut the cord. At the end of the day, cable benefits from the competition and will work even harder to compete fairly and effectively on value and consumer experience.
As these changes unfold, critics will wail. Compelling change rarely escapes the doomsayer chorus in Washington. Rather than dismiss these concerns out of hand, we will respect and weigh them carefully, guided by our commitment to ensuring a better experience for consumers.
But some naysayers are carping because they don’t like the U.S. private enterprise model. They prefer European-style regulation where the government effectively owns or controls the network, pumping taxpayer money into subsidizing service and managing competition. They would like government to have the last word on the pace and scope of innovation.
This would be a disastrous path to take. Confiscating private networks would put our already broke government on the hook to keep tens of billions of dollars annually flowing into network innovation.
Letting politics allocate resources - rather than market economics and entrepreneurs - would kill investment and leave the Internet in the state we find today’s post office, electric grid or crumbling transportation system. A Washington Post article recently said that “our nation will need to spend $75 billion a year if you want to keep the lights on and our iPhones charged. We will need to spend $9.4 billion a year if you would like the toilet to keep flushing.” To do it all, our country needs to spend a staggering $262 billion.
In stark contrast, broadband is thriving, fueled by the dynamics of the free market. Broadband is an American success. A light regulatory model that favors free enterprise has led to a vibrant digital economy that is empowering educators, business owners and consumers no matter where they live.
I hope you are as excited as I am that we are holding our convention here in Boston. This is a storied city with great people and a proud history. We hope to tap into the revolutionary spirit that gave birth to this great nation and continue building a great network worthy of the stars and stripes.

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