NCTA — The Internet & Television Association

Four Ways Americans Benefit from Cable’s Economic Investments

Four Ways Americans Benefit from Cable’s Economic Investments

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The cable industry works to make significant positive contributions to the local communities in which it operates and the people it serves. 

In a highly competitive marketplace, the cable industry continues to grow and innovate, stimulating both national and local economies and providing American jobs. In July, a new economic impact report from Bortz Media & Sports Group, Inc. showed that the total economic impact made by America’s cable leaders had grown to $450 billion, up $29 billion since 2017.

The $450 billion contribution goes beyond pure economic impacts. While the industry accounts for over 3 million American jobs and contributes to the overall Gross Domestic Product (GDP), economic investments also impact how Americans live their everyday lives in four primary ways:

Infrastructure Development

Cable operators have been pivotal in the development of the country’s broadband infrastructure. With investment totaling more than $290 billion over the last two decades, cable’s high-speed internet service reaches approximately 90 percent of American homes and serves 71 million customers. U.S. broadband speeds are now among the world’s fastest and entry level broadband pricing is among the most affordable. With fast broadband and expanded access, Americans are able to access more opportunities for education, jobs, healthcare, and more. In addition, broadband access has been found to have a positive impact on U.S. home values.

Increased Quality and Choice

Both operators and TV networks have introduced new content and services to consumers that impact how Americans experience entertainment and technology. Annual spending on programming by basic cable networks grew from $1.4 billion in 1990 to $35.3 billion in 2018, leading to the production of even more high-quality and award-winning shows, like Atlanta, Killing Eve and others, that have revolutionized the TV experience. The industry has also made services like video-on-demand, TV streaming apps, faster Wi-Fi and gigabit speed internet available to American households, driving better customer experiences and providing additional viewing choices to U.S. households.

Stimulating Local Economies

The cable industry invests in the United States, much of it as hyper-localized capital investment that serves to stimulate small town economies and create jobs across urban, suburban, and rural communities. Bortz Media & Sports Group found that cable’s uniquely “local character” results in “significant employment and economic impacts in every state and congressional district.” In fact, a majority of the industry’s capital investment is made at the local level and about one-quarter of the industry’s total investment represents capitalized labor, which equates to local jobs.

Charitable Contributions

The entire cable industry also strives to ensure that they are positive, contributing members of the communities in which they operate. This commitment can take the shape of partnerships among programming networks and local cable systems to bring access, education, and other charitable contributions to local areas. Also, cable operators are heavily investing in closing the digital divide, offering low-cost and discounted broadband services to low-income households as well as digital literacy training programs and centers. Furthermore, the industry is committed to advancing diversity and inclusion. A number of industry organizations, including the Walter Kaitz Foundation, and individual companies engage in education and advocacy in support of a diverse workforce.

The cable industry’s story is one of growth and transformation, not just for the companies and employees of the industry itself, but for the communities and consumers the industry serves.