ACAction Brief - your connection to news and initiatives
Public Issue – October 19, 2011 

 Key Development  

ACA's Polka Troubled By FCC Chairman's USF Reform Proposals

Right of Way  
In response to a major speech on Universal Service Fund (USF) reform by Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski, American Cable Association President and CEO Matthew M. Polka issued a statement on Oct. 6 outlining the trade group’s concerns with the Chairman’s proposals, highlighting the absence of competitively neutrality and fiscal responsibility.

"Because any plan to reform the USF regime will have a significant impact on consumers and competition in the broadband marketplace for the next 20 years, it must be forward looking, recognizing and taking advantage of today's competitive marketplace and the hundreds of broadband providers across the country, including many offering a robust service over cable television infrastructure that is a preferred choice by most consumers. Unfortunately, the Chairman's plan does not achieve this critical objective,” Polka said.

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ACA Calls For New Expert Group To Craft Voluntary Network Outage Rules

The American Cable Association called for creation of an industry working group to craft voluntary network outage reporting rules in lieu of regulatory mandates by the Federal Communications Commission, in response to concerns raised by many stakeholders that the FCC lacks authority to impose such requirements on broadband and interconnected VoIP providers.

"With FCC legal authority to act far from settled, the wisest course now is for the FCC to endorse the establishment of an industry working group that will allow companies that own and operate the sophisticated networks at issue to have their subject-matter experts work through the many technical difficulties identified in the record of this proceeding," ACA President and CEO Matthew M. Polka said.

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  News Headlines

  • Mediacom, LIN Media Finally End Retrans Disconnect (Multichannel News, 10/15)
    Mediacom and LIN Media have finalized a retransmission consent agreement, ending a blackout for nine LIN stations for Mediacom subscribers that began Aug. 31.
  • NFL, Time Warner Cable Game Off (New York Post, 10/14)
    Manhattan residents won’t be getting access to the NFL Network this season after all.
  • LIN TV Chief Upbeat About Retrans $$$, Local TV, Digital Biz (MediaDailyNews, 10/14)
    LIN TV’s chief said Wednesday that M&A in the local station business is likely to increase with “non-traditional” owners as potential sellers.
  • Belo Threatens To Pull Stations From DirecTV Over Retransmission Negotiations (FierceCable, 10/13)
    DirecTV (Nasdaq: DTV) subscribers in 11 states could lose the signals from stations carrying programming from ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC on Nov. 1 unless the satellite TV provider strikes a retransmission-consent deal with station group owner Belo Television Group.
  • Huawei Banned From Building Public-Safety LTE Networks (FierceBroadbandWireless, 10/13)
    The U.S. Commerce Department declared that China's Huawei won't be allowed to build LTE networks for the public safety community because of concerns over national security.
  • Rep. Blackburn Blasts Administration, FCC Over Regulatory Approach (Broadcasting & Cable, 10/13)
    Conservative Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) pulled no punches and took no prisoners in a speech to the deregulatory-minded Free State Foundation Wednesday, saying the Obama Administration was regulating communications and other sectors with an "act first and think later" approach under the "costly and dangerously arrogant" assumption that government knows best.
  • Sen. Rockefeller: Time For USF Action Is Now (Broadcasting & Cable, 10/12)
    FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski is already circulating his draft order on Universal Service Reform for a vote Oct. 27, but that didn't stop the Senate Commerce Committee from trying to light a fire under the effort Wednesday in a hearing on the FCC's USF reform.
  • Waxman's Draft Of Supercommittee Recommendations Includes Spectrum Auctions (The Hill, 10/11)
    In a draft letter to the congressional supercommittee on deficit reduction, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, recommends auctioning spectrum that is currently used by television broadcasters and the federal government to raise revenue.
  • Massive Political Operation Accompanied Comcast/NBC-Universal Merger (The Minnesota Independent, 10/11)
    The 2011 merger of Comcast and NBC-Universal created one of the largest media conglomerates in American history, which critics warn could limit the variety of voices heard by the public and threaten the internet’s role as a forum for free exchange of information.
  • Will FCC Net Neutrality Rules Survive Court? (Adweek, 10/11)
    Opponents of the Federal Communications Commission’s net neutrality rules won an important court victory last week, one that may eventually mean the death of the rules, a major setback for FCC chairman and net neutrality proponent Julius Genachowski, and a restriction of the power of the FCC itself.
  • FCC Moves To Implement Disability-Access Regulations (The Hill, 10/10)
    The Federal Communications Commission will give companies two years to comply with new regulations to make advanced communications services accessible to people with disabilities.
  • Colorado: Four Corners Residents Will Get Their Broncos Fix (Summit County Citizens Voice, 10/8)
    Sen. Mark Udall brokers deal with New Mexico TV station to show Broncos games — and not the Cowboys

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

 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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