It is hard to imagine what life would be like if we did not have access to hundreds of TV channels, could not surf the web, and had only one choice for phone service. If it were not for media and the cable industry, this is exactly the world we would live in today. To be sure, media innovations and the industry's willingness to take chances on new technologies has profoundly impacted people's lives.
Join us as we explore the astounding, life-changing products and services the cable industry has created and deployed over the last 70 years. The Cable Center's Cable Today & Tomorrow project takes a close-up look at media inventions and how its content is impacting the world around us. The project also offers a glimpse into how the industry will make it easier to communicate, be entertained, and stay connected.
Some of the most significant technological advancements in the 20th Century have been developed, created or expanded by the cable industry. Innovations in media have revolutionized the television and telecommunications arenas more than once—and will continue to do so.
For instance, the cable industry's creation of broadband networks allowed companies like Google, Amazon and eBay to become the behemoths they are today. If you remember what it was like to have the Internet "time out" when downloading a document or video, you certainly do not miss those early days. Cable modem services changed these inconveniences when the industry increased data speeds to increase customer satisfaction and demand.
"I have a great appreciation for engineers," said Italia Commisso Weinand, Mediacom Communications' executive vice president of programming and human services. "It's those guys who built the cable plant that today services millions of homes [and delivers services like] Google. We're the foundation. We're the infrastructure and backbone that allows innovation...to be delivered into people's homes, onto their phones, etc."
A Commitment to Forward Thinking
The industry's commitment to a faster and expanded broadband pipe has fostered the launch of online programming services such as Netflix, Amazon, Apple TV, and Hulu. The industry has invested over $200 billion in private sector funds over the last 15 years to expand and upgrade its infrastructure to handle the steady stream of new technologies and services. Our Cable Today & Tomorrow exhibit examines how the industry's emphasis on engineering and innovation has affected what we watch and how we watch it.
"Over the past 15 to 20 years, the cable industry has brought many new innovations to the American public," said Bob Stanzione; chairman, president, and CEO of ARRIS. "Probably the most important one in recent years has been the broadband capability that the industry is unsurpassed in delivering. Just think about what it would be like living without that."
As in prior centuries, the sun would still rise if we had no broadband, but the dawn would certainly reveal a different world. Without broadband:
*5 million photographs would not be uploaded to Instagram every 24 hours
*2.5 billion Pinterest pages would not be viewed each month
*and 6 billion hours of YouTube videos would not be watched every month, according to data collected from Infographic and Virgin Media.
More important media innovations have allowed broadband networks to enable rural residents the ability to connect with faraway doctors and hospitals without having to physically get there for immediate help. Even entire libraries, like the Barco Library are now available via the Web, opening up new educational horizons for people around the globe.
But, that is only the proverbial tip of the cable iceberg. Indeed, as consumers increasingly demand access to their mobile devices, the need for wireless networks is on the rise. "Inventions like WiFi technology has become a lifeline service", Stanzione said. "The first thing a person looks for when they're walking down the street, walking into a building or arriving at their homes is to get on the WiFi network, and no one has done that better for the American public than the cable industry."
To meet the increasing demand for mobile access to the Web, cable operators are teaming up to create ubiquitous WiFi hotspots all over the country. As early as 2018, there will be 340 million hotspots on the planet; one for every 20 inhabitants of Earth.
The cable industry has been revolutionizing communications for seven decades and it will surely continue on that path for decades to come. We invite you along for the ride as we assess, evaluate and analyze what is transpiring today and what future trends there will be in the telecommunications industry.
"The cable industry isn't your grandfather's cable business anymore," reflected Jerry Kent, chairman and CEO of Suddenlink Communications. "There's geometric technological change occurring within the industry and we are making bets on how we make investments in our people, new services and our infrastructure to make sure we keep up with technological change...it's going to be critical that we position ourselves and brand ourselves as an industry that is on the technological edge."