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ACAction Brief - your connection to news and initiatives
Public Issue – September 30, 2009
 Key Developments  

ACA Commends House, Senate Panels for Approving Elimination of the Phantom Signal Rule

Commenting on satellite legislation that needs to be updated by Congress by the end of the year, the American Cable Association applauded the House and Senate Judiciary committees for recently passing bills that would overhaul an outdated copyright rule that has proven a financial burden on small and mid-sized cable operators, especially operators that have been consolidating headends to be more operationally efficient.

In separate votes in September, the two committees agreed to renew and update the Satellite Home Viewer Act (SHVA), which first became law in 1988 and allowed satellite providers to offer broadcast signals from New York and Los Angeles to consumers in rural and remote areas who could not pick up their local TV stations with an antenna. The distant signal license expires on Dec. 31, 2009. Read More / Comment on Story

ACA Members Seek $1.3 Billion in Broadband Stimulus Funding

Dozens of American Cable Association members have applied for more than a billion dollars in grants and loans under the $7.2 billion federal broadband stimulus programming run by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration and the Rural Utilities Service.

"With decades of experience serving rural America, ACA members have now proven in their applications why they are ideal candidates to receive broadband stimulus dollars to help advance the goal of providing every American with affordable access to the Internet over state-of-the-art facilities," ACA President and CEO Matthew M. Polka said. "ACA urges NTIA and RUS to recognize that ACA members have been reliable providers of advanced communications services in rural areas and represent the best hope of extending broadband into the most economically and technically challenging areas in the country. We encourage the agencies to approve all of our members' applications." Read More / Comment on Story

ACA Urges FCC to Examine Content Side of Net Neutrality Debate

  Binary Code
American Cable Association President and CEO Matthew M. Polka urged Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski to examine closely the business models of powerful Web content providers like ESPN360 as the agency considers the adoption of more expansive Net Neutrality regulations that would apply to ACA members and other entities that provide broadband access.

"If the FCC moves forward with its rulemaking, ACA urges the Commission to ensure that broadband content providers are similarly prevented from imposing closed Internet business models that are even more problematic today than the concerns raised about the ability of broadband access providers to distort various forms of Internet commerce and competition," Polka said. Read More / Comment on Story

ACA Applauds NAB for Selecting Sen. Gordon Smith as President and CEO

Senator Gordon H. Smith  
Reaching out to broadcasters amid a leadership change at their largest trade association, ACA President and CEO Matthew M. Polka congratulated the National Association of Broadcasters for selecting former U.S. Sen. Gordon H. Smith as its new president and Chief Executive Officer.

"The American Cable Association applauds the National Association of Broadcasters for wisely selecting former U.S. Sen. Gordon H. Smith as its new president and CEO, effective Nov. 1. ACA believes that the NAB has shown great foresight by turning to an individual who earned the respect of his Senate colleagues as a bridge builder and who demonstrated leadership by being more interested in finding compromise than exploiting political divisions for partisan advantage," Polka said. Read More / Comment on Story

ACA Urges FCC to Reject Power Companies' Bid to Hike Pole Attachment Fees

  Utility Pole
Requiring cable providers to pay higher pole attachment fees simply because they have begun offering digital phone service over their lines would drive up the cost of advanced cable services for consumers and slow the pace of broadband deployment across rural areas where costs already run higher than average for small, independent cable operators, the American Cable Association said in a recent filing with the Federal Communications Commission. Read More / Comment on Story

 Industry Affairs  
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 News Headlines  
  • U.S. FCC to Meet Oct. 22 for Open Internet Rules (Reuters, 9/24)
    U.S. regulators have set an Oct. 22 meeting to formally propose a new "net neutrality" rule aimed at ensuring that network operators treat the flow of Internet content without discrimination, the Federal Communications Commission agency said on Thursday.
  • Matsui Introduces Universal Service Fund Bill (Multichannel News, 9/24)
    Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Calif.) has introduced a bill that would expand the Universal Service Fund to include broadband by discounting the Internet access bills to the poor and underserved.
  • Senate Judiciary Passes Satellite TV Modernization Act (Broadcasting & Cable, 9/24)
    The Senate Judiciary Committee passed the Satellite TV Modernization Act out of committee Sept. 24 with the additional provision instructing the Copyright Office to produce a study on phasing out the compulsory copyright license for satellite distant network TV stations signals.
  • Cablevision Looks to Lock Up Basic Video Tier (Cable Digital News, 9/23)
    Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC) wants the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to lift a rule that keeps it from encrypting its basic video tier.
  • FCC Endorses Network Neutrality (The Washington Post, 9/22)
    The government would play a far more aggressive role in policing the public's unfettered access to Internet services and content under a proposal offered Monday by Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski.
  • US Court Could Allow FCC Ban on Exclusive Cable Contracts (The Wall Street Journal, 9/22)
    A three-judge U.S. federal appeals court panel indicated Tuesday it is inclined to give the Federal Communications Commission leeway when assessing the agency's decision to bar cable operators from withholding some television programs from competitors through exclusive contracts.
  • NTIA to Begin Awarding Broadband Stimulus Grants in November (FierceWireless, 9/22)
    The National National Telecommunications and Information Administration, along with the Department of Agriculture's Rural Utilities Service, is still sorting through nearly $28 billion worth of applications for broadband stimulus grants--nearly seven times the $4 billion available for the program in this first round.
  • Clyburn Focuses On Last 'Half-Mile' Adoption (Broadcasting & Cable, 9/21)
    In her first policy speech as an FCC commissioner, Democrat Mignon Clyburn said that she would be staking out broadband adoption as a major focus, saying that is one half of the "last mile" problem.
  • Lawrence Strickling on Broadband Applications: ‘Incumbents Do Not Have a Veto!’ (, 9/18)
    With those words, Assistant Secretary Lawrence Strickling, head of NTIA, enables many applicants and others worried about the NOFA's incumbent challenge clause breathe a little easier.
  • CEA Asks FCC To Review CableCard Rule (Broadcasting & Cable, 9/16)
    The Consumer Electronics Association has asked the FCC to review whether the agency's rule requiring cable operators to use CableCards in their own set-tops is achieving the goal of spurring competition for retail cable-ready devices.
  • House Panel OKs Satellite, Cable Licensing Extension (The Wall Street Journal, 9/16)
    Cable and satellite providers are a step closer to renewal of a complex licensing system giving them the right to broadcast copyrighted TV programs after a House panel approved a five-year extension Wednesday.

For more news, visit the Headlines Page on the ACA website.

 About ACA  

Small markets and rural areas across the country are receiving video, high-speed broadband, and phone services from more than 900 small and medium-sized independent operators represented by the American Cable Association (ACA).

ACA's membership comprises cable, phone, and fiber-to-the-home operators and municipalities, who deliver these affordable basic and advanced services, such as high-definition television, next generation Internet access, and digital phone, to more than 7 million households and businesses, some of whom have no other means of receiving these vital services.

These communications services are considered by most to be essential for individuals, companies, and other entities, like schools and hospitals, and are crucial to America's economic prosperity, particularly in smaller markets and rural areas.

The ACA works to ensure its members are treated fairly in the marketplace and in Washington, so that small and medium-sized independent operators may continue to thrive and deliver affordable video, broadband, and phone services to Main Street America. Through active participation in the legislative and regulatory process, ACA and its members advocate for the interests of their customers, their companies, and their communities to help ensure the continued viability of their hometown's way of life.

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