Cable Television in Washington State has grown and changed dramatically since its early days in the 1950’s, when its mission was to bring a handful of broadcast channels to homes in rural or hilly areas that could not receive over the air television signals. In the 1970’s and 1980’s cable developed and served up dozens of new channels that could only be received on the cable system.
In 1996 Congress passed sweeping new legislation that for the first time allowed cable and telecommunications providers to compete with one another and since then the cable industry has invested billions of dollars of private risk capital to create state of the art broadband networks that are now available to over 93% of all households in Washington State. Cable companies are now the leading provider of high speed broadband internet in Washington state and offer a full range of video and telephone services to consumers throughout the state. The cable industry continues to invest and innovate in order to provide services to its customers across multiple devices and platforms.
The cable industry has a long and generous philanthropic tradition that embraces hundreds of programs throughout Washington. While fundraising and donations are in integral part of the tradition, cable companies pride themselves on donating their unique product. Cable operators provide free service to public and private schools, libraries, fire stations and other public institutions in the communities they serve including channels that provide public, educational and government access from city hall to the state capitol in Olympia through its support of TVW and C-SPAN.
While nearly 98% of all Washington residents have access to broadband services, that available service is of little use to people who cannot afford it. Cable companies are now offering broadband service and computer hardware and software to qualifying low income youth so that they will not be left behind as the digital age progresses.