De-obfuscating Big Cable's numbers: investment flat since 2000

The cable lobby group NCTA claims the industry has been investing record amounts in network upgrades, which will dry up if they are forced to endure Net Neutrality. Techdirt points out that Big Cable's numbers are cumulative, and re-runs them year on year. Turns out investment has been flat since about 2000.

From there, the story of cable continually increasing investment looks... very different. There was that big initial build-out of broadband in the late 90s/early 2000s, but then expenditures dropped, and other than minor ups and downs it's been pretty flat. In fact, since 2007, the trend is pretty clearly downward on investment. Yes, there's a tiny bump in the last two years, but that's at best flat spending, not any real increase.

Now, it's possible to claim -- as some cable industry supporters have been -- that because of greater efficiency and better technology, spending the same amount is fine because they get more value out of fewer dollars. But, if that's the case, then that's the argument the cable industry should be making, rather than the wholly misleading argument that investment in infrastructure has continued to rise over the last decade. It's quite clear from the chart that this is simply not true

Cable Industry's Own Numbers Show General Decline In Investment Over Past Seven Years

Notable Replies

  1. So much for the premise that a quality product or service was the best way to attract consumers.

  2. So much for the premise "you get what you pay for".

  3. Is there no way to combat this nonsense? I know is a recurring headline going back since the days of Usenet (yes I know it still exists, and I was there in the early 90s, just before the "September That Never Ended"!), but this doesn't just affect domestic customers, it has a global impact, at least IMO.

  4. When a 100+ billion dollar industry that is considered vital to the global economy says, "if you recognize us as vital to the global economy we will take our ball and go home" they should be laughed at in their face. Who do they think they are, investment banks!?

    (I may have had a large cup if snark a few minutes ago)

  5. Beyond changing the number of years before showing the totals, this chart is exceptionally misleading in that it is showing cumulative investment, rather than the actual rate of investment.

    These are also the same liars that decide what prices to charge you and have some control of your privacy or lack thereof as well.

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