The largest lobbying group in favour of US cable industry is trying to rebrand itself by dropping the word ‘cable’ from it’s name.
What was once the National Cable and Telecommunications Association has changed it’s name, while still keeping the acronym NCTA. The new name is NCTA-The Internet and Television Association. The NCTA part no longer stands for anything in particular, apparently. NCTA CEO Michael Powell, who is a former Federal Communications Commission chairman, stated that the brand must reflect the diversity of its members. He said that the lobby group’s mission, “to drive the industry forward,” has not changed.
This is just the latest in a series of name changes over the past few decades. In 1951, the group began as the National Community Television Council. THis became the National Community Television Association just a year later, in 1952. The name was changed yet again in 1968, when it switched to the National Cable Television Association for a few decades. Then, in 2001, the ‘Cable Television’ part of the name was replaced with ‘Cable and Telecommunications,’ changing the name to National Cable and Telecommunications Association. This last name change was meant to reflect the changes in the industry and the fact that cable was “no longer simply a provider of one-way programming.” Just last year the NCTA’s annual conference “The Cable Show,” was renamed “INTX: The Internet & Television Expo.”
The NCTA is a hugely influential lobby group in the telecommunications industry. They have had their say in many FCC proceedings. In fact, the NCTA is currently attempting to fight an FCC plan that would boost competition in the cable market, and o trying tis also overturn FCC net neutrality rules and the classification of broadband providers as common carriers.
Cox, Comcast, and other big cable companies are members of the NCTA, plus plenty of smaller companies. All in all,, NCTA members number above 150, and includes various companies involved in television, such as equipment manufacturers. The NCTA doesn’t represent major Internet providers, like AT&T, that don’t use coaxial cable tech. Even though the group has removed the word “cable” from it’s name, in the change in branding announcement, Powell noted that the group represents the country’s industry of the largest home internet providers.
The NCTA isn’t the only telecomunications lobbying group that has initials that represent no particular words. For example, the group that was once the National Telecommunications Cooperative Association changed its name in 2013 to NTCA-The Rural Broadband Association. Also, the group previously known as the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association, then known as the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association, is now named “CTIA-The Wireless Association.”
The name change and those like it should not affect public perception of the lobby group, as it still represents the same large cable group. This rebranding is a poor attempt to make people forget that it mainly represents major cable companies.