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Protesters Gather at National Show Opening

Apr 3, 2005  •  Post A Comment

The National Cable & Telecommunications Association’s National Show opened Sunday in San Francisco with a small number of protesters outside the Moscone Convention Center. The protesters were complaining about poor labor relations and high prices from Comcast, which operates the local system.

Steve Burke, chief operating officer of Comcast, downplayed the protests, saying that a small percentage of the MSO’s labor force has voted to decertify the union. He added that Comcast has more than 20 million subscribers who choose to pay Comcast’s rates, rather than turning to competitors.

At the National Show’s opening session, panelists including Charter owner Paul Allen and Tom Rutledge, COO of Cablevision Systems, talked about the exciting services their broadband pipelines could offer consumers. But Bing Gordon, executive VP and chief creative officer of video game maker Electronic Arts, said that consumers would be demanding an ever-expanding amount of bandwidth. “If cable doesn’t give it to us, it’s going to be wireless or phone.” Jerry Yang, co-founder and chief Yahoo at Yahoo!, added that “the more bandwidth out there, the bigger the opportunity.”

Mr. Rutledge of Cablevision said a 2.0 version of cable wasn’t necessary. “Our network capacity is so great, we’re looking for applications that are fat enough to take advantage of them.”