ACAction Brief - your connection to news and initiatives
Public Issue – May 12, 2010 

  Key Developments

ACA Raises Concerns About New Regulatory Reclassification For Broadband

Small Op Groups Still Open To Working With FCC On Reaching Right Result

In response to the Federal Communications Commission's recent decision to regulate broadband access providers as common carriers under a streamlined version of rules that have generally applied to telephone providers for many decades, the American Cable Association expressed worries about the impact of such a new regime, and a willingness to work with the agency on determining how best to ensure an open internet.

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ACA Proposes Changes To FCC's Regulatory Fee Notification System

The American Cable Association encouraged the Federal Communications Commission to adopt several procedural reforms designed to better inform small cable operators that they must pay their annual regulatory fees online.

"The FCC needs to understand that most smaller cable operators do not have attorneys on retainer who monitor the agency’s website to make sure that newly posted notices are not missed. The FCC could better inform independent operators through more traditional means of communications, such as email and an occasional letter in the mail," American Cable Association President and CEO Matthew M. Polka said. "By adopting ACA's proposals, the FCC can better ensure small cable operators are getting their messages."

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ACA Supports Greater Procedural Transparency At The FCC

The American Cable Association is urging the Federal Communications Commission to adopt several procedural reforms designed to make the agency's decision-making processes more open and transparent as well as more efficient and modern.

Specifically, ACA said in comments filed May 10 that the FCC should consider important changes to its so-called ex parte rules, which govern such thing as when parties may make presentations to FCC officials and how the substance of these presentations must be disclosed to the public.

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  News Headlines
  • Federal Agency Opens TV Merger Review To The Public (Star Bulletin, 05/08)
    The Federal Communications Commission has ruled in favor of Media Council Hawaii in opening to the public its review of the shared services agreement enabling the consolidation of KGMB-TV, KHNL-TV and KFVE-TV last year.
  • FCC Allows Movie Studios To Block Copying Of New Video-On-Demand Releases (The New York Times, 05/07)
    In a significant victory for the major movie studios, the Federal Communications Commission on Friday approved a request to allow companies that sell movies via video-on-demand services to activate signals that would block the copying or other re-use in home entertainment systems of recent releases.
  • Legislators Call For Multiple Comcast/NBCU Hearings (Multichannel News, 05/07)
    Some four dozen legislators led by Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) have called on the Federal Communications Commission to hold multiple hearings on the proposed Comcast/NBCU merger and require the companies to answer many questions, primarily on diversity issues.
  • What You Need To Know About The FCC's Broadband Plan (Computerworld, 05/07)
    So is the Federal Communications Commission really going to place common carrier restrictions on Internet service providers? Well, yes, but not too many of them.
  • FCC Chooses A Middle Ground In Enforcing Net Neutrality (Los Angeles Times, 05/07)
    The Federal Communications Commission has come up with a new way to apply some net neutrality rules that would force Comcast Corp., AT&T Inc. and other broadband Internet service providers to handle all Web traffic the same, without imposing limits on users or blocking websites.
  • FCC Reclaims Powers Over Internet Access Companies (Bloomberg Businessweek, 05/06)
    Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski claimed power to regulate companies that provide Internet access, opening a fight with cable television and telephone companies.
  • Rep. Boucher Releases Draft Privacy Bill (NationalJournal, 05/04)
    House Energy and Commerce Communications Subcommittee Chairman Rick Boucher, D-Va. Tuesday released draft privacy legislation that would require websites to provide enhanced notice about how they use consumer information and obtain a user's consent before collecting sensitive information or sharing data about a consumer with some third parties.
  • Supreme Court Defers Decision On Hearing Must-Carry Challenge (Multichannel News, 05/03)
    The Supreme Court has punted on a decision on whether to hear Cablevision's challenge to the must-carry rules.
  • FCC Likely To Hire Outsider To Oversee NBC-Comcast Review (The Hill, 05/02)
    The FCC may soon hire an outsider to oversee its review of Comcast's bid for NBC, in part to free up the commission's resources so that it may focus primarily on its new broadband agenda.
  • Comcast-NBCU Paranoia Pervades Affils (TVNewsCheck, 04/30)
    You can forgive network affiliates for being a little paranoid. As they watch the best off-net sitcoms and sports programming drift away to cable, their networks are pressuring them for a cut of their retrans take. Meanwhile, the cable industry is agitating in Washington to undermine their ability to get retrans fees in the first place.

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 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.

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