ACAction Brief - your connection to news and initiatives
ACA Public Issue – January 25, 2012 

 Key Development  

ACA Embraces FCC's Competitive Bidding Proposals For USF

The American Cable Association announced broad but qualified support for an array of Federal Communications Commission policies and initiatives designed to promote broadband deployment in the most costly and geographically remote regions of the country that incumbent phone carriers elect not to serve with basic Internet access.

“The FCC has proposed a viable competitive bidding process to disburse Universal Service Fund support to ensure that the urban-rural digital divide quickly becomes a distant memory. By adopting several ACA policy recommendations, the FCC will further ensure that funding flows in the most efficient fashion to the low-cost providers meeting minimum performance standards,” ACA President and CEO Matthew M. Polka said.

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ACA To FCC: Latest EAS Rules Could Prematurely Shut Down Some Small Cable Systems

American Cable Association President and CEO Matthew M. Polka urged the Federal Communications Commission to consider new Emergency Alert System (EAS) rules, saying regulations released on Jan. 10 could cause some small cable systems to shut down prematurely.

"ACA recognizes the importance of the Emergency Alert System, and that cable operators, along with broadcasters, play an important role in informing the public of emergencies. But ACA is highly disappointed with the FCC's decision to impose new rigid and costly regulatory mandates on the nation's very smallest cable systems,” Polka said.

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ACA Calls For Disclosure Of Agreements For Coordinated Retrans Dealing

The American Cable Association, in reply comments filed on Jan. 17 with the Federal Communications Commission, said it supports public disclosure of any agreement, including Shared Services Agreements (SSAs), that would allow separately owned TV stations in the same local market to coordinate their retransmission consent negotiations with pay-television providers.

“ACA urges prompt action by the FCC because full disclosure of agreements that facilitate coordinated retransmission consent negotiations will serve the public interest by enabling regulatory and antitrust authorities to monitor the competitive effects of such agreements and detect violations of current FCC regulations and federal antitrust statutes," ACA President and CEO Matthew M. Polka said. "In this case, sunlight is truly the best disinfectant."

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ACA Urges FCC To Reject Expansion Of Program Carriage Rules

Federal law does not authorize the Federal Communications Commission to apply cable program carriage rules to cable operators that are not affiliated with cable programming vendors, the American Cable Association said in FCC reply comments filed on Jan. 11. Moreover, the trade group said the First Amendment prohibits the expansion of these rules beyond MVPDs with financial interests in programmers.

"Nothing in the 1992 Cable Act or its legislative history supports the application of program carriage rules to non-vertically integrated MVPDs," ACA President and CEO Matthew M. Polka said. "The few programmers who think otherwise have advanced only weak theories with no basis in law to justify the expansion of the scope of current regulations."

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  News Headlines

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 About ACA  

Across this vast country, small and rural markets participate in the digital revolution by receiving video, broadband, and phone services from nearly 900 small and medium-sized independent operators represented by the American Cable Association (ACA).

ACA’s members -- cable, phone, and fiber-to-the-home operators and municipalities -- deliver affordable basic and advanced services to about 7.6 million households and businesses. ACA members operate in every state, offering high-definition television, next generation Internet access, and digital phone service.

Access to advanced communications is not a luxury but a critical necessity for consumers and companies, schools and hospitals. America’s economic prosperity in smaller markets and rural areas depends on the growth and success of ACA members, who believe a connected nation, is a united nation.

The ACA asks lawmakers and regulators to ensure fair treatment so that small and medium-sized independent operators may continue to supply affordable video, broadband, and phone services to Main Street America. Through active participation in the policymaking process, ACA members and leaders advocate for the interests of their customers, their companies, and their communities to help ensure the continued viability of their way of life in hometown America.

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