ACAction Brief - your connection to news and initiatives
Public Issue – February 17, 2010




Key Developments

Colleen Adboulah, President & CEO Of WOW!, Warns Congress That Comcast-NBC Universal Deal Harms Consumers, Competition

Colleen Abdoulah
Speaking for nearly 900 small cable operators, Colleen Abdoulah, President and CEO of WOW! Internet, Cable & Phone, warned in congressional testimony that the planned merger between Comcast Corp. and NBC Universal would push up cable prices for consumers and threaten vibrantly competitive multichannel video and Internet content markets if regulators failed to impose meaningful conditions on this unprecedented media combination.

"Regulators must understand that the Comcast-NBC Universal merger will harm consumers and competition because a company like WOW! will be forced to pay discriminatory prices for an array of content owned by Comcast-NBCU, depriving us of critical financial resources needed to add network capacity to meet the demands of broadband subscribers," said Abdoulah, a veteran cable industry executive. "Make no mistake about it: Comcast-NBCU will have the incentive to treat WOW! unfairly in the pricing of cable, broadcast and broadband content because we compete head-to-head with Comcast for cable, phone and broadband subscribers."

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ACA Praises FCC For Granting More Set-Top Box Waivers

Set-Top Box
The American Cable Association praised the Federal Communications Commission for granting a pair of set-top box waivers filed by equipment vendors, continuing a policy that will allow small cable operators to transition their facilities to digital platforms in a cost-efficient manner by not having to rely exclusively on more expensive CableCard-enabled boxes.

The trade group said it was pleased that the FCC recognizes the need to continue granting waivers of the existing rules at the same time it solicits comments on how the agency can encourage innovation in the video device market as part of its development of a National Broadband Plan.

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Industry Affairs

ACA's 17th Annual Summit

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News Headlines
  • AT&T, Verizon May Have To Share Lines Under FCC Plan (Bloomberg.com, 02/12)
    AT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc. would be forced to lease fast Internet lines to rivals providing Web services to small businesses under a proposal being weighed by U.S. regulators.
  • Google Makes A Push Into Super-Fast Broadband Access (The Washington Post, 02/11)
    Google staked a claim on another corner of the technology universe Wednesday, saying it now wants to turbocharge your Internet connection.
  • FCC May Pay Broadcasters For Airwaves (BusinessWeek, 02/11)
    The Federal Communications Commission is considering a plan to pay broadcasters to vacate airwaves it could use to alleviate network strain caused by the surging use of smartphones such as the iPhone, an FCC official said.
  • Senate Version Of Satellite Bill Hits Hill (Broadcasting & Cable, 02/11)
    A new Senate version of the satellite reauthorization bill that has been appended to a must-pass jobs bill is circulating Capitol Hill. While a vote on the jobs bill-actually now two bills-was on hold due to the Washington blizzard, the satellite bill will need to get a congressional thumbs-up in the next two weeks, which is cutting it close since the Senate is supposed to be in recess all next week.
  • Iger: Disney Will Seek Retrans Cash, ESPN License Fee Increases (Multichannel News, 02/09)
    The Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Iger told analysts Tuesday that his company is willing to do battle for increased fees for its broadcast and cable networks, adding that the media giant also sees upside in affiliate fees for its ESPN network as well as new opportunities in the digital delivery of content with Apple Computer's new iPad device.
  • Stimulus Funds For High-Speed Internet Access Tangled Up (USA Today, 02/09)
    The Obama administration knew that there'd be a lot of interest in the $7.2 billion for high-speed Internet projects it included in last year's huge economic stimulus package.
  • Carey: Retrans Windfall Coming (Multichannel News, 02/08)
    One month after a high-profile retransmission-consent battle with Time Warner Cable, News Corp. chief operating officer Chase Carey said the media giant is on the cusp of a windfall in retransmission-consent revenue that could ultimately fix the broken broadcasting model.
  • Comcast To Hill: We'll Be Fair (Multichannel News, 02/08)
    Washington — Facing tough questions from politicians and withering reviews from critics, Comcast and NBC Universal defended their deal on Capitol Hill last week.
  • A Telecom Veteran, Baker Stands Firm On Net Neutrality, Spectrum Plan (The Hill, 02/05)
    Now the junior Republican at the agency, she’s well-connected on Capitol Hill and understands the inner workings of bureaucratic life. She also has something the other four Commissioners rely on her for—an engineer-like knowledge of the airwaves now at the center of a high-stakes tug-of-war between wireless carriers and broadcasters.
  • Franken Clashes With Comcast, NBC CEOS Over 'Broken Promises' (The Hill, 02/04)
    Tempers flared between two former colleagues during a Senate antitrust hearing examining the proposed merger between Comcast and NBC Universal .

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

About ACA




ACA_new.jpg
Small markets and rural areas across the country are receiving video, high-speed broadband, and phone services from nearly 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.

For more information, visit www.americancable.org, or contact:

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