The cable industry delivers entertainment, information and telecommunications services to tens of millions of American consumers and businesses. Through its aggressive re-investment of capital and efforts to deploy new and innovative services to consumers, the industry has fostered the development of a highly competitive market and has been a catalyst for broadband growth in the U.S. Through these investment and innovation initiatives, the industry has exerted a substantial impact on the United States economy. In addition, the subscription television program network industry has a substantial economic impact of its own - one that is both linked to and distinct from its role as a supplier to the cable industry.
Made possible by an infrastructure investment of more than $8 billion since 1996, Pennsylvania's cable industry has led the development of broadband Internet service throughout the Commonwealth, providing service to approximately 3 million customers in 2013. In Pennsylvania and throughout the country, cable companies provide the fastest broadband speeds, with standard cable broadband speeds ranging from 10 Mbps to 20 Mbps and more than 105 million U.S. homes with access to speeds of 50 Mbps or greater. Nearly 1.5 million Pennsylvanians go online with broadband cable service.
The cable industry's innovation has greatly improved the television services available to American consumers, delivering service to 56 million subscribers at the end of 2012. Nearly all digital cable customers have access to video-on-demand programming, with most programming available at no charge. Twenty-four million cable customers have digital video recording capability, and more than 30 million cable homes had HDTV-enabled set-top boxes as of year-end 2012.
Cable has fostered true competition in local telephone service, capturing roughly 26 million customers by the end of 2012. Cable operators now make up five of the top 10 residential phone companies in the country. More than one million Pennsylvanians enjoy residential telephone service from their cable company.
Throughout the nation, the cable industry significantly contributes to charities, non-profit organizations and state/municipal coffers. In Pennsylvania during 2012, taxes and franchise fees paid directly to municipalities in the Commonwealth totaled more than $200 million. And the industry's public service announcements (including both cable operators and program networks) as well as cash and "in-kind" contributions to local and national non-profit organizations exceeded $1 billion nationwide in 2012. Today, Pennsylvania's broadband cable industry employs approximately 13,000 Pennsylvanians, and supports thousands of additional high-tech jobs in the Commonwealth.
Five of the nation's top 20 cable companies are headquartered in Pennsylvania: Armstrong, Blue Ridge Communications, Comcast, MetroCast and Service Electric. Additionally, Pennsylvania's cable operators offer free cable service to virtually all primary and secondary schools in the state...while continuing to provide 100 percent funding and support for Pennsylvania Cable Network (PCN), one of the country's premiere state public affairs networks offering comprehensive coverage of the Pennsylvania General Assembly, tours of state manufacturers, high school sports championships and virtually everything Pennsylvania.