Stevens Addresses Progress and Freedom Foundation to Push for Senate Consideration of Communications Bill

September 21, 2006

It’s a pleasure for me to introduce Brian Roberts. Brian and his father Ralph have both been leaders in the cable industry and have been pushing technology to new heights, and his father knows how to play poker.  So, he must have learned a little bit there.  Under Brian’s leadership, Comcast has grown into a Fortune 100 company with $202.3 billion in revenue, 23.3 million customers, and approximately 80 thousand employees.  He’s serving his second consecutive term as Chairman of the board of directors for the National Cable and Telecommunications Association along with Kyle McSlarrow. 
I think that the cable industry’s rollout of high-speed internet service throughout the nation has been very important to our nation.  It has spurred competition.  In particular, I was impressed to learn that the cable industry estimates that cable phone service will be available to more than 100 million households in this country within five years.  Increased competition, whether it’s in providing video or providing phone service, is a win-win for consumers and for the country.  Additionally, cable provides thousands of well-paying jobs for Americans.  In fact, I was impressed to hear that Comcast recently announced that it expects to add more than four thousand jobs nationwide.  That is very good for the nation’s economy. 
The cable industry, and Brian in particular, has participated in a thoughtful and constructive way during the discussions on the Senate Communications bill.  I look forward to working with him and all of you as we push forward.  I just made another statement on the floor urging that we consider that bill.  I was pleased to hear that John McCain, our former chairman, made a statement yesterday really urging that we continue to push to get this bill done this year.  It obviously can’t be done before we go into recess, but I do hope we can find some way before we leave to schedule it so it will be part of the plan when we come back into session, probably on November 13th
Thank you all for coming, and thank you all for how much you’ve committed to our hearings and our research into the communications problems.  I do hope that all the work we’ve done on this communications bill will not go away just because of the end of this Congress.  It is still possible to get it passed, and I’m working as hard as I can to see that that happens.  So, I wish you well, and I hope you’ll excuse me now so I can go back.  Thank you very much.