NCTA (association)

NCTA (association)

American telecommunications organization

NCTA, formerly known as the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA), is a trade association representing the broadband and cable television industries in the United States. As of 2011, NCTA represented more than 90% of the U.S. cable market,[2] over 200 cable networks, and various equipment suppliers and service providers to the cable industry.

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NCTA is considered one of the most prominent lobbying organizations in the United States, having $14 million to lobbying efforts in 2021.[3] Regarding policy matters, NCTA has expressed opposition to net neutrality and municipal broadband proposals. Currently, the association is led by Michael Powell, a former Republican member of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).[4]


NCTA was initially established as the National Community Television Council in September 1951, when a small group of community antenna (CATV) operators convened in Pottsville, Pennsylvania. Their gathering was prompted by concerns over the Internal Revenue Service's proposed 8% excise tax on their operations. In January 1952, the organization officially changed its name to the National Community Television Association.

As the CATV industry rapidly expanded, NCTA experienced parallel growth. Within its first year, nearly 40 CATV systems became members of the organization. By the end of the 1950s, membership had reached the hundreds, and by the end of the 1960s, it had expanded into the thousands. During the 1960s, the industry transitioned from using the term "Community Antenna Television (CATV)" to simply "cable," reflecting the broader range of services offered, including local news, weather information, and pay television channels. In 1968, NCTA underwent its first official name change, becoming the National Cable Television Association while retaining its acronym.

With the advent of global telecommunication satellites, the late 1970s and 1980s witnessed a significant surge in cable content. Entrepreneurs launched networks such as CNN, ESPN, MTV, BET, TBS, USA, Discovery, Lifetime, C-SPAN, and many others. Concurrently, major programming services across the nation joined NCTA, augmenting the organization's representation of cable interests in Washington.[citation needed]

To reflect the growing influence of cable internet and other types of two-way communication in the industry, the organization rebranded as the National Cable and Telecommunications Association in April 2001.[5][6] Subsequently, on September 19, 2016, the organization changed its trade name to "NCTA – The Internet & Television Association", making "NCTA" an orphaned initialism to remove the reference to cable; NCTA president Michael Powell stated that the former name "underrepresents the breadth of what we are and what we do".[7] The organization had already taken steps to reduce its emphasis on cable by rebranding its annual convention from "The Cable Show" to "INTX: The Internet and Television Expo" in 2015.[7]


NCTA operates under the guidance of a board of directors. In March 2012, the chairman of the board was Patrick Esser, serving as the president of Cox Communications.[8]

Michael Powell currently holds the position of president and CEO of NCTA. Powell assumed the role on April 25, 2011, succeeding Kyle McSlarrow,[9] who departed to join Comcast. Powell previously served as the head of the FCC.[10]

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NCTA is recognized as one of the most prominent lobbying organizations in the United States. In 2014, it allocated approximately $12.0 million for political lobbying.[18]

NCTA expressed opposition to the FCC's proposal to expand the definition of multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs) to include internet-based services. However, it stated that if the definition were expanded, internet delivery should be subject to the same obligations as traditional cable services.[19] NCTA President Michael Powell holds a stance against amending the Telecommunications Act of 1996 to enable a la carte pay television, citing potential impacts on smaller niche networks.[20]

In March 2014, NCTA voiced support for the FCC's decision to allocate 100 MHz of spectrum for unlicensed Wi-Fi services.[21]

Internet issues

NCTA has expressed its views on net neutrality, specifically objecting to the classification of internet service as a common carrier under Title II of the 1996 Telecommunications Act. In 2010, NCTA advised the FCC against formalizing its net neutrality rules.[22] After the rules were invalidated by the court in 2014, NCTA ran advertisements in the media opposing reclassification as a common carrier.[23] According to ProPublica in 2014, NCTA was privately associated with the "Onward Internet" campaign, which advocates for internet free from regulations.[24] In 2016, NCTA and the American Cable Association submitted petitions for en banc review of a ruling that upheld net neutrality rules, arguing against regulating cable internet systems in the same manner as "archaic telephone systems".[25]

NCTA supported the Stop Online Piracy Act of 2011, stating that it provided copyright owners with reasonable tools to protect their intellectual property.[26] NCTA objected to the FCC's decision to raise the minimum internet speed for Connect America Fund broadband subsidies from 4 Mbit/s to 10 Mbit/s, asserting that 4 Mbit/s was sufficient.[27]

Using a model bill developed by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), NCTA has advocated for legislation that prohibits or restricts municipal broadband in several states.[28] When President Barack Obama requested the FCC preempt these laws in January 2015, NCTA defended the legislation, contending that municipal projects often incur high costs and prove unsuccessful.[29]

NCTA President Michael Powell has advocated for internet service providers to expand their usage of data caps on internet usage,[30] with the aim of promoting fairness rather than alleviating network congestion.[31]

Events and subsidiaries


NCTA organizes an annual conference called INTX: The Internet and Television Expo (formerly The Cable Show until 2015).[1] It was the largest trade show in the United States for the cable and broadband industry. The conference featured discussions with current and former FCC commissioners, including remarks from the FCC chair in multiple years.[32][33][34][35][36]

During INTX, NCTA presented the Vanguard Awards, which were nominated by NCTA members and selected by a committee consisting of members from the NCTA Board of Directors and previous award recipients.[37]

In September 2016, NCTA announced the discontinuation of INTX. Powell described the trade shows as outdated and highlighted the importance of contemporary venues that foster conversation, dialogue, and more intimate interactions with technology. Attendance had been declining due to industry consolidation, making the trade show less necessary.[38]

CableACE Awards

From 1978 to 1997, NCTA supported the CableACE Award, which aimed to recognize excellence in American cable television programming. The CableACE Award served as a counterpart to the Emmy Awards, which did not previously acknowledge cable programming. However, after 1997, the Emmys began to include cable television programming, leading to the discontinuation of the CableACE Awards.

Cable in the Classroom

The association also oversees Cable in the Classroom, which is the education foundation of the cable industry.

Walter Kaitz Foundation

NCTA is responsible for managing and overseeing the Walter Kaitz Foundation, which aims to promote diversity in the cable industry's workforce, supplier chain, content, and marketing.

See also


  1. Kent Gibbons (19 Sep 2014). "NCTA: 'Cable Show' Convention Becoming INTX". MultiChannelNews. Retrieved 30 Dec 2014.
  2. Jim Puzzanghera (15 Mar 2011). "Former FCC Chairman Michael Powell named to lead cable TV's top lobbying group". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 11 Jan 2015.
  3. Marek, Sue (2023-05-09). "Marek's Take: Telecom operators rack up big fees to pay lobbyists". FierceWireless. Retrieved 2023-05-09.
  4. Eggerton, John (2022-07-28). "Net Neutrality Bill Is Nuclear Option, Says NCTA's Michael Powell". Multichannel News. Retrieved 2023-05-09.
  5. "NCTA name change is official". Broadcasting & Cable. 30 Apr 2001. Retrieved 30 Dec 2014.
  6. "NCTA Changes Name". MediaPost. 3 May 2001. Retrieved 30 Dec 2014.
  7. "NCTA Rebrand Drops 'Cable,' Adds 'Internet'". Multichannel News. 19 September 2016. Retrieved 19 September 2016.
  8. "Current Board of Directors for the National Cable & Telecommunications Association". National Cable & Telecommunications Association. March 27, 2012.
  9. Katy Bachman (15 Mar 2011). "Michael Powell to Head NCTA (Updated)". AdWeek. Retrieved 30 Dec 2014.
  10. Patrick Parsons (5 Apr 2008). Blue Skies: A History of Cable Television. Temple University Press.
  11. K.C. Neel (26 Oct 2009). "Always Ahead of the Curve. (Core Capital Partners managing director Tom Wheeler)". Archived from the original on 11 June 2014. Retrieved 21 Jan 2015.
  12. Todd Spangler (24 Dec 2012). "James Mooney, Former NCTA Chief, Dead at 69". MultiChannelNews. Retrieved 21 Jan 2015.
  13. Mike Farrell (21 Jan 2015). "Anstrom Named 2015 Bresnan Ethics Award Recipient". MultiChannelNews. Retrieved 21 Jan 2015.
  14. John M. Higgins (21 Jun 2004). "Sachs Exits NCTA". Broadcasting and Cable. Retrieved 21 Jan 2015.
  15. Bill McConnell (25 Jan 2005). "McSlarrow Named to Head NCTA". Broadcasting and Cable. Retrieved 21 Jan 2015.
  16. Ted Hearn (20 Jan 2005). "NCTA's Mr. Right". MultiChannel News. Retrieved 26 Jan 2015.
  17. "National Cable & Telecommunications Assn: Summary". Open Secrets. Retrieved 30 Dec 2014.
  18. John Eggerton (19 Mar 2014). "NCTA To Senate: STELA Can Be Used For Retrans, Video Market Changes". MultiChannelNews. Retrieved 30 Dec 2014.
  19. Spangler, Todd (2013-05-14). "McCain: Pay TV Business Is Rigged Against Consumers". Variety. Retrieved 2019-01-08.
  20. Steve Donohue (31 Mar 2014). "Comcast, NCTA cheer FCC 5 GHz Wi-Fi order". Fierce Telecom. Retrieved 30 Dec 2014.
  21. John Eggerton (12 Oct 2010). "NCTA Opposes Net Neutrality Rules". MultiChannelNews. Retrieved 30 Dec 2014.
  22. Tony Romm (29 Dec 2014). "Net neutrality to dominate D.C.'s tech agenda". Politico. Retrieved 30 Dec 2014.
  23. Robert Faturechi (9 Oct 2014). "Mysterious Campaign Appears to be the Latest Salvo in Battle Over Net Neutrality". Pro Publica. Retrieved 1 Jan 2015.
  24. "Broadband industry tries again to kill net neutrality and Title II". Ars Technica. 29 July 2016. Retrieved 19 January 2017.
  25. Chloe Albanesius (1 Nov 2011). "Will Online Piracy Bill Combat 'Rogue' Web Sites or Cripple the Internet?". PC Magazine. Retrieved 30 Dec 2014.
  26. Jon Brodkin (11 Dec 2014). "Ignoring AT&T and Verizon protests, FCC says "broadband" has to be 10Mbps". Ars Technica. Retrieved 30 Dec 2014.
  27. Jon Brodkin (12 Feb 2014). "ISP lobby has already won limits on public broadband in 20 states". Ars Technica. Retrieved 16 Jan 2015.
  28. Todd Shields and Margaret Talev (14 Jan 2015). "Obama Touts Well-Wired Iowa Town as Model for City-Run Web". Washington Post. Retrieved 16 Jan 2015.
  29. Brad Reed (23 Oct 2013). "Top cable lobbyist urges more ISPs to slap users with data caps". BGR. Retrieved 30 Dec 2014.
  30. John Eggerton (17 Jan 2013). "NCTA's Powell: Usage-Based Pricing About Fairness, Not Capacity". Broadcasting and Cable. Retrieved 30 Dec 2014.
  31. "FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski to Appear at The Cable Show 2010" (Press release). NCTA. PR Newswire. 24 Mar 2010. Retrieved 11 Jan 2015.
  32. John Eggerton (15 Jun 2011). "The Cable Show 2011: Genachowski: Broadband Adoption 'Just Not Good Enough'". Broadcasting and Cable. Retrieved 11 Jan 2015.
  33. Alex Ben Block (22 May 2012). "Cable Show 2012: NCTA President Praises FCC's Broadband Campaign". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 15 Jan 2015.
  34. Mariko Hewer (11 Jun 2013). "FCC's Clyburn emphasizes importance of increasing broadband, digital literacy". Fierce Cable. Retrieved 11 Jan 2015.
  35. Alex Ben Block (30 Apr 2014). "NCTA 2014: FCC Chairman Tells Cable to Expand Broadband but Ensure Fair and Reasonable Access". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 11 Jan 2015.
  36. "NCTA Ends Annual Cable Trade Show, Cancels 2017 INTX Event". Variety. 28 September 2016. Retrieved 19 January 2017.

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