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  Public Issue — September 2, 2009
 Key Developments  

ACA Applauds FCC Decision to Grant More Digital Set-Top Box Waivers

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The American Cable Association commended the Federal Communications Commission for granting a new round of set-top box waivers that will make it far less expensive for customers of small cable providers to watch digital television. The ruling gives independent operators more cost-effective choices in deploying digital cable boxes, and over time eases the financial burden of transitioning to all-digital platforms, which provide consumers with an even greater array of advanced services. Read More / Comment on Story

ACA to FCC: Stop the Broadcasters and Media Conglomerates' Abuse of Small Ops

The American Cable Association urged the Federal Communications Commission to use its authority to prevent broadcasters and media conglomerates with ownership stakes in cable networks from exploiting their market power against the video and broadband customers of small cable companies who reside in rural areas and other economically challenging regions.

"Based on evidence supplied by the ACA and others, the FCC has the data and information it needs to see that customers of small, independent cable providers continue to be the victims of price gouging and similar market abuses perpetrated by broadcasters and media giants who have no regrets squeezing profits from the powerless," ACA President and CEO Matthew M. Polka said. Read More / Comment on Story

PROJECT WRONGWAY: ACA Warns That A&E's Takeover of Lifetime Will Produce Higher Cable Rates and Less Channel Choice

The American Cable Association warned that A&E Television Networks' acquisition of Lifetime Entertainment Services will produce higher cable bills and mean less channel choice for consumers in rural America because the media conglomerates in control of A&E insist that small, independent cable providers consent to consumer-hostile pricing, terms and conditions.

"Media conglomerates Disney, Hearst and NBCU, which will take three-way control of Lifetime through their interest in A&E, use their market power to force small cable operators to pay unfair and unreasonable wholesale rates and distribute channels that their customers do not want included in their programming packages. A&E's takeover of Lifetime—call it Project Wrongway—will further enhance the power of media giants to discriminate against video consumers served by ACA members in thousands of rural communities," ACA President and CEO Matthew M. Polka said. Read More / Comment on Story

 ACA Member Stories  
Mediacom’s VOD Service Advances Adult Literacy In Iowa

Iowa's largest cable company is using on-demand digital video technology to allow students to participate in adult literacy programs from the comfort and convenience of their own homes.

Since last year, Mediacom Communications Corp., with about 500,000 customers, has been in the forefront of an innovative program in which students who are studying for their General Educational Development (GED) degree can take test-preparation courses over the cable network.

Read More / Comment on Story

 News Headlines  

  • Comcast Wins Appeal of FCC Ownership Cap (The Washington Post, 8/29)
    Comcast, the nation's largest cable television provider, can grow bigger if it wants to, after a federal court decision on Friday that tossed out a rule preventing cable companies from controlling more than 30 percent of the U.S. market.
  • Regulators Begin Wireless Inquiry (The Wall Street Journal, 8/28)
    U.S. regulators opened a sweeping inquiry into the wireless industry that will include a look at how the agency could revamp its rules to give consumers more information about charges on their phone and cable television bills.
  • 2,200 Broadband Stimulus Applications Seek Seven Times More Funds than Available (, 8/27)
    Nearly 2,200 applications were submitted for federal funding from the federal government's broadband stimulus program, seeking $27.6 billion in funding, out of $4.3 billion that is available, said the National Telecommunications and Information Administration and Rural Utilities Service.
  • States Waking Up To AT&T, Verizon 'Franchise Reform' Con (, 8/26)
    As we've been saying for years, the "franchise reform" bills the baby bells have been pushing state by state promise lower TV prices, but are really little more than legislative wish lists that erode consumer protections, legitimize next-generation broadband "cherry picking," strip away eminent domain rights, and make lobbying easier for carriers.
  • Bill would give president emergency control of Internet (CNET News, 8/28)
    The revised version of a proposed U.S. Senate bill that gave the White House power to control non-government computers still gives the president power to disconnect the Internet in the case of an emergency.
  • U.S. Will Consider Single Rating System for TV, Phones, Games (, 8/26)
    U.S. regulators will consider a single ratings system that would warn parents of programming on television, video games, and wireless telephones that could be inappropriate for children, officials said.
  • Are the DTA Floodgates Opening Up? (Cable Digital News, 8/26)
    The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) 's blessing of Digital Terminal Adapter (DTA) devices from four big cable box makers on Monday could spark much broader deployment of the simple digital-to-analog "channel zappers" as MSOs figure out how to reclaim spectrum for beefier HDTV lineups and speedier Docsis 3.0 cable modem service tiers.
  • Obama's FCC to enforce 'net neutrality' (The Hill, 8/25)
    The Obama administration's Federal Communications Commission (FCC) plans to keep the Internet free of increased user fees based on heavy Web traffic and slow downloads.
  • Electric Utility Companies Ask FCC for Pay Ruling on Cable Ops Attaching to Utility Poles (Broadcasting and Cable, 8/21)
    A quartet of electric utility companies have asked the FCC for a declaratory ruling that cable operators who provide VoIP service should pay for attaching to utility poles at the telecom rate rather than the cable rate, which is less.
  • FCC Seeks 'Broadband' Definition (Reuters, 8/21)
    U.S. telecommunications regulators on Thursday sought public comment on how to define "broadband," a step that could impact how the industry delivers Internet services to consumers.

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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