As of 2012, about 90 percent of American households have access to cable broadband – quite the change from 64 years ago when only a few homes in three states had access to it. But for those that still do not have access, such as rural and low-income minority communities, the cable industry is stepping up and investing in programs such as Connect2Compete to turn things around.  Cable services are becoming more prevalent and communities across the country, especially Latino and African-American communities, are benefitting in more ways than one.

With the addition of each new network and the diversification of services provided to consumers comes an increase in economic output and job creation. The cable industry’s gross economic output amounts to more than $291 billion; and within the last decade alone upwards of 824,000 new jobs have been directly and indirectly created thanks to the industry.  And many of these jobs are going to Latinos and African American, which provides not only a critical economic boost for the country, but it helps to pave the way for new employment opportunities within our very own communities – bringing financial and job security to countless families across the country.

The industry is also giving back to our communities in other ways.  According to the National Cable and Telecommunications Association, who recently hosted their Annual Cable Show in Washington, D.C., “In 2012, the industry’s public service announcements, as well as cash and 'in-kind' contributions to local and national non-profit organizations, exceeded $1 billion.” And just three years ago, providers such as Time Warner Cable embarked on a partnership with the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) to open technology centers equipped with computers and free broadband access.  Other industry partners are also working with LULAC in this effort, which to date has successfully provided digital connectivity to underserved Latino communities in 24 states and the District of Columbia. 

Through its investment and diversity efforts, the cable industry is helping to drive the development and deployment of innovation. Innovation that continues to advance, connect and inspire the lives of millions of minority and underserved communities. Out of all of cable’s qualities, this, by far, is its greatest.

Cable is not just an industry that puts forth our favorite shows at nighttime. And it’s not just a method in which we get breaking news. In essence, it is an industry that speaks to the American soul – to what innovation, creativity and dreams stand for. It is the industry that gives back to the community and, with every new story, venture and revolution it generates, inspires millions of others to do the same.

Avilla is President of the Hispanic Elected Local Officials (HELO), a subsidiary of the National League of Cities (NLC). NLC receives support from large and small businesses, think tanks, for-profit and not-for-profit organizations.

Updated at 12:50 p.m.