About Us: The Cable Industry

Comprised of a wide variety of cable companies, cable programming networks and other service providers, today’s cable industry offers an extensive array of television and telecommunications services to consumers across the United States.  Indeed, cable companies are pleased to provide nearly 62 million customers with cable service and to be a vital part of their households and communities. 

Cable Programming
At the core of the cable industry are cable programming networks offering high-quality programming that educates, informs and entertains viewers. Cable offers something for everyone, with networks dedicated to news, public affairs, children, health, science, arts, history, sports, original movies and entertainment programs, and more.  This breadth has resulted in an explosion in programming diversity, often targeting unserved or underserved segments of the population.  And, cable companies are also increasingly investing in the creation of new regional and local programming, filling a vital programming need.

Cable’s dedication to diverse programming means that viewers are increasingly turning to cable and cable network viewership continues to increase at a rapid pace.  In addition, thanks to the deployment of services like Video-On-Demand (VOD) and Digital Video Recorders (DVRs), viewers can watch their favorite programming at their convenience.  Cable program networks have also been at the forefront of providing HD programming so that consumers can have the best possible viewing experience.

Broadband Services
The cable industry is the nation’s largest broadband provider of high-speed Internet access after investing more than $130 billion over ten years to build a two-way interactive network with fiber optic technology.  In the mid 1990’s, cable was the first industry to offer an affordable, residential high-speed Internet service that spurred the growth of the Internet, stimulated the development of a highly competitive broadband marketplace, and provided a stable and growing platform for Internet entrepreneurs.  In a little over a decade, broadband speeds have greatly increased, providing for new Internet applications, nearly ubiquitous deployment, and exponential growth in broadband adoption rates.  Cable broadband service is now available to 122 million homes, or 92 percent of all American households.

Cable companies are also pleased to be able to provide state-of-the-art digital telephone service to 22 million American consumers.

Social Responsibility
As the leading provider of television and broadband services, the cable industry understands its responsibility toward its customers and their communities.  That’s why in 1989 it established Cable in the Classroom as the industry’s education foundation in order to expand and enhance learning in and out of the classroom through cable content and technology, and to serve as a leading national advocate for digital citizenship education as well as media literacy education.

The cable industry also has a longstanding commitment to addressing parents and educators' concerns about what children see on television. The cable industry provides customers with a wide choice of programming that serves diverse audiences, including several channels just for children and families. Combined with this choice, cable provides tools to help families control the programming that comes into their homes. Cable set-top boxes feature parental blocking mechanisms that enable parents to manage effectively how television is viewed in their home. 

Similarly, the cable industry shares the concerns of parents and educators about keeping children safe when they are online.  In June 2007, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) – whose members collectively serve more than 90 percent of the nation’s cable television households – and Cable in the Classroom launched Cable Puts You in Control: PointSmart.ClickSafe., a comprehensive initiative to educate consumers and parents about online safety and the appropriate use of the Internet by children. A key component of the initiative is the NCTA members’ pledge to:

  • Offer parental controls or filters free of charge to help families manage online content;
  • Offer various educational resources for parents, children, and others about online parental controls and Internet-related media literacy;
  • Participate through Cable in the Classroom in partnerships with school-based and community-based education groups to ensure that information on Internet safety and literacy is available to teachers and parents; and
  • Cooperate with law enforcement officials to help prevent, police, and prosecute potential criminal activity online.

CIC Blog

  • Does all the technological wizardry of the latest gadgets, games and applications inhibit our ability to concentrate? Does all this magical media provide a constant source of distraction that conditions our brains for short attention spans?

    Some scholars believe that the ability to focus and concentrate is a strong predictor of success. The ability to attend to a problem, think about complexity, wrestle with potential solutions is fundamental to writing, science, mathematics and life in general.

  • Clifford Nass did pioneering studies of multitasking and found, guess what? We really don’t multitask well. Read more in this guest blog for I-KeepSafe.

  • In November, a Tennessee elementary school counselor decided to give her students a real-life demonstration of how fast things can spread on the Internet. She got more than she bargained for.

    Julie Culp posted a photo on her Facebook, asking people to “like” it to show “how quickly a photo can be seen by lots of people.” It went viral soon after, being reposted by radio personalities and getting press coverage around the world. And it garnered more than 4 million “likes.”

    Culp certainly succeeded in illustrating how quickly images can spread.

  • By Kat Stewart

    Over the last several months, Cable in the Classroom has rolled out InCtrl, a series of standards-based lesson plans that help 4-8 graders learn about digital citizenship. I’m happy to announce the final lesson in the series is available on the Cable in the Classroom website. There are now seven lessons, each covering a specific digital citizenship topic, that help students make thoughtful decisions and be in control online.

    All of us at Cable in the Classroom are really proud of InCtrl.

  • By Eric Langhorst
    This October teachers around the country are participating in activities for Connected Educator Month. Digital Citizenship Week (October 21-25, 2013) places an emphasis on how all of us – teachers, students and parents – can have thoughtful discussions about being ethical and responsible online. It’s so important to have these discussions considering the digital world in which we live.
    I am a self-admitted geek – a Google Certified Teacher who carries multiple devices and instinctively checks for Wi-Fi access and electrical outlets whenever I enter a building – but I have no personal experience in navigating today’s digital world as a teenager. 

  • When we talk to our kids about the Internet and their digital world, have we kept up with the times?  Are we trying to scare them with stories of bad things that can happen or are we teaching them to be good digital citizens who are in control of their digital lives?

    The old fear-based approach doesn’t work, and it isn’t supported by the research about online risks, about risk prevention, or about effective teaching and learning.  

  • Today’s Google Doodle was in recognition of Jane Addams’ birthday. Addams (1860-1935) was the first American woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize for her work for women’s suffrage and world peace. She was most known for establishing Hull House, the first Settlement House in the US, providing a residence for woman, adult education classes, Kindergarten, and more.

    In Addams’ time, information and training were scarce commodities, available in libraries, newspapers, schools and places like Hull House.

  • Today in Washington DC, traffic is snarled, the Metro is crowded, and the mood is festive. We get a lot of demonstrations and commemorations here in the Nation’s Capital. We natives like to think we’re above it all, going about our business as busloads of ardent citizens sally forth for this or that cause.

    Today, however, is different. We mark the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, of the “I have a dream” speech. That day and that march changed America.

  • By Kat Stewart

    InCtrl, a new initiative launched by Cable in the Classroom, is a series of free, standards-based lessons that teaches digital citizenship.

    Digital citizenship empowers students to make thoughtful decisions and develop a sound digital foundation for the rest of their lives. It’s a holistic and positive approach to helping students learn how to be safe and secure, as well as smart and effective participants in a digital world. That means helping them understand their rights and responsibilities, recognize the benefits and risks, and realize the personal and ethical implications of their actions.

  • Earlier this summer, the Obama administration announced ConnectED, an initiative to provide schools with high-speed broadband, teachers with adequate professional development, and students with exciting digital content. By midsummer, the FCC opened proceedings to reform the e-Rate program to help pay for faster broadband connections to schools and the wireless, internal infrastructure necessary to get broadband to classrooms.

    What are these initiatives trying to accomplish? What does a 21st Century digital learning environment look like?

    For the past year the Partnership for 21st Century Skills has been visiting schools that exemplify 21st century teaching and learning, schools where kids are regularly practicing the four Cs: Critical thinking, Communication, Collaboration, and Creativity.

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