Latest industry news in Texas and around the country.
U.S. Army veteran James Baldwin was injured in the Gulf War and now has one prosthetic eye and limited sight in the other. Baldwin has been able to “watch” his favorite TV shows using described content offered by his cable provider, Comcast. But now Baldwin, as he demonstrates in a Comcast video, really can watch them using a virtual reality option the cable company rolled out in December.

Individuals like Baldwin have found expanded entertainment options – and gained independence – in recent years because of cable’s investments in innovative technology. As a result, cable’s products and services can be enjoyed by almost everyone.

Says Charlie Herrin, executive vice president and chief product officer for Comcast, in the company’s 2020 Values report, “We prioritize accessibility because we build great experiences for all of our customers. It’s a business imperative. An estimated one-third of all U.S. households include someone with a disability. We don’t want to create exciting new products, only to tell certain communities and audiences that these experiences aren’t available to them.”
The Governor's Broadband Development Council on Nov. 1 issued its first report to the Texas Legislature. The report includes broad recommendations for the 87th legislative session and provides an overview of the work of Council since it was created in 2019 by the Legislature to study and identify ways to provide internet access to unserved areas of Texas.

In the report, the Council recommends that the Texas Legislature create a state broadband plan and establish a broadband office. It also suggests continued study of the development of a state broadband funding program to incentivize deployment in unserved areas.

Among the Council’s members is former Texas Cable Association chair Juli Blanda, vice president, West division of Cable One, which provides Sparklight services in Texas.
Cable joins the rest of the nation on Veterans Day to honor nation’s former military service men and women, and is firmly committed to celebrate and support veterans every day of the year, from hiring initiatives to providing low-cost broadband access, and more.

In this newsletter, we’re taking a deeper dive into the veteran’s initiatives at Charter Spectrum with Dr. Matthew Cohen, regional sales VP, Spectrum Community Solutions, for Spectrum’s Texas region, is also co-chair for Spectrum’s Veteran Business Resource Group. Cohen is also a U.S. Air Force Desert Storm-era veteran. During his time in the service, Cohen supported nuclear and conventional weapon security in the U.S. and Middle East as a member of Air Force Security Forces. 

In cities and towns across Texas, local cable operators and their employees make their communities a better place to live. Cable companies not only make financial and in-kind donations to numerous civic and charitable organizations, but employees volunteer thousands of hours of their time each year. Check out the latest cable industry community initiatives below.
Altice USA donates iPads and earbuds to Shields Elementary School in Victoria ISD
Altice USA, the parent company of Suddenlink, is committed to supporting the success of local students in the face of the pandemic recovery. As part of a $1 million initiative impacting 30 school districts in the areas served by the company, Shields Elementary School in Victoria ISD received 20 iPads and 600 earbuds with microphones. This donation increases access to virtual classroom opportunities, connectivity, and online curriculum for Victoria ISD students. Read more.
Altice USA donates tech to Bryan ISD
Altice USA, the parent company of Suddenlink, recently donated 40 iPads and 700 earbuds with microphones to the Bryan school district. The donation was part of the company’s $1 million initiative to increase access to virtual classroom opportunities, connectivity and online curriculum in 30 school districts within the company’s service area. Read more.
Spectrum hits goal to improve the health and safety of 50,000 homes nationwide through Spectrum Housing Assist
Spectrum on Oct. 28 announced the company has met its commitment to make 50,000 homes safer and healthier by the end of 2020 through its first signature philanthropic initiative, Spectrum Housing Assist (SHA). This commitment included improving 4,139 homes in Texas. Charter launched Spectrum Housing Assist in 2014 with a goal to improve 25,000 homes and in 2018 doubled its commitment to 50,000 homes by 2020. Along the way, Charter has partnered with a number of nonprofit organizations, including American Red Cross, Homefront and Rebuilding Together, to help improve the homes and lives of thousands of people living in the company’s 41-state service footprint. Read more.

New Spectrum store now open in Denton
Charter Communications, Inc. has opened a new Spectrum Store in Denton. The Spectrum store gives consumers in Denton a convenient option for adding or managing their Spectrum Internet®, TV, Mobile or Voice services. Along with sampling and ordering Spectrum services, customers also can complete a variety of transactions at the store, including account payments and upgrading or exchanging equipment. Spectrum is opening more than 15 new stores in Texas in 2020, on top of the 23 stores it opened in 2019. Read more.

Emancipation Park Conservancy and Comcast Houston partner to launch Economic Empowerment Tech Program
Emancipation Park Conservancy and Comcast Houston have announced a $10,000 Comcast NBCUniversal Foundation grant to launch the Economic Empowerment Small Business & Entrepreneur Technology Training Program. The program seeks to empower Houston’s Third Ward community and beyond by providing technology education sessions and corresponding resources as it works collaboratively with its strategic partner, Emancipation Economic Development Council. Read more.

Hero Dog Remington joins Comcast and Hallmark Channel to help shelter pets find forever homes
When it comes to being an advocate for dogs, K9 Remington is more than that; he is a retired search and rescue K9, cancer survivor, and this year’s 2020 American Humane Dog of the Year. So, it’s no surprise he is joining forces with Comcast and Hallmark Channel to help shelter pets find forever homes through Hallmark Channel’s Adoption Ever After initiative. Comcast’s Pearland and Cypress Xfinity stores from Oct. 17-18 displayed posters of adoptable pets from BARC, the City of Houston’s Animal Shelter and Adoption Facility. Read more.

Comcast RISE Initiative provides small businesses opportunities to apply for media, technology upgrades and grants
Comcast RISE, an initiative created to help strengthen and empower small businesses hard hit by COVID-19, recently launched where small businesses can apply for marketing and technology support and equipment. The Comcast RISE program is designed to help thousands of small businesses over the next three years. The multi-faceted program will offer grants, marketing and technology upgrades, including media campaigns and connectivity, computer and voice equipment, as well as free marketing insights to all applicants. Read more.

Sparklight® Joins ACA Connects, EducationSuperHighway ‘K-12 Bridge to Broadband’ initiative to meet student connectivity needs
Sparklight®, a leading broadband services provider in Texas and 20 other states, has signed on to partner with ACA Connects and EducationSuperHighway for the "K-12 Bridge to Broadband" program to help school districts and states provide internet access for students in low-income households. Under this program, broadband service providers help school districts and states identify students that lack broadband at home and then supply these connections. Texas Cable Association members Charter Spectrum, Comcast and Vyve Broadband also are participating. Read more.
Sparklight Business® donates $3,500 to Texarkana nonprofit CASA
Sparklight Business is helping to provide hope and resources for the youngest and most vulnerable Texarkana residents with a $3,500 donation to non-profit CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) for Children, an organization that empowers volunteers to advocate on behalf of abused and neglected children. Read more.
Sparklight Business® donates $3,500 to nonprofit Texarkana Resources
Nonprofit Texarkana Resources will be able to purchase the supplies necessary to continue to run its vocational training and life skills program thanks to a recent $3,500 donation from Sparklight Business. The mission of Texarkana Resources is to provide education, training, and support to enable all persons with disabilities to reach their highest level of potential and self-sufficiency within the community. Read more.
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