ACAction Brief - your connection to news and initiatives
Public Issue – October 27, 2010 

 Key Development  

ACA Commends FCC For Reforming Set-Top Box Rules

Set-Top Box  
The American Cable Association applauded the Federal Communications Commission for modifying its CableCARD rules on Oct. 14 in favor of a new approach sought by the independent cable community for many years that will greatly accelerate the availability of HD programming and faster Internet download speeds across rural America.

"ACA commends the FCC for recognizing that the burden on independent cable operators to procure expensive HD set-top boxes under the CableCARD regime not only slowed their analog-to-digital TV transition but also tied up valuable bandwidth that could not be allocated to broadband or other advanced services. Today's laudable FCC action puts the country on the right path and deserves broad support from industry and consumers," American Cable Association President and CEO Matthew M. Polka said.

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ACA Applauds FCC Response To Fox's Cablevision Blackout

Retransmission  
One week into Fox TV's blackout of millions of Cablevision System Corp. subscribers, the Federal Communications Commission asked both companies to explain by Oct. 25 how their standoff squared with the law that requires them to bargain "in good faith."

American Cable Association President and CEO Matthew M. Polka commended the FCC for recognizing a problem and providing appropriate oversight.

"Fox's ongoing boycott of millions of Cablevision customers has resulted in serious consumer harm, judging by the precipitous decline in local ratings for such hit shows as House, Glee as well as the Oct. 17 New York Giants football game. Fox's action is not unique because TV stations across the country prefer to play hardball with small cable operators by threatening to pull signals and by actually pulling signals unless broadcasters' outrageous and discriminatory cash demands are met."

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ACA Updates FCC With Deeper Analysis Of Its Comcast-NBCU Conditions

Comcast/NBCU  
In a detailed filing, the American Cable Association provided the Federal Communications Commission with a thorough explanation of how ACA's narrowly drawn conditions would ameliorate the consumer and competitive harms stemming from the pending Comcast-NBCU transaction and improve upon past media merger conditions that ran into practical implementation problems.

"It's critically important for consumers and competition that regulators prevent Comcast-NBCU from using enhanced market power derived from the merger to raise consumer prices and undercut the level of competition in the marketplace. ACA's tightly contained conditions would, if adopted, ensure a healthy competitive balance by utilizing governmental mechanisms in the least intrusive way and only when absolutely necessary," American Cable Association President and CEO Matthew M. Polka said.

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  News Headlines
  • Online TV Spats Mean Fewer Free Shows On Web (Associated Press, 10/24)
    Broadcasters took a big step toward eliminating free TV shows on the Web after they blocked access to their programming online this month to enforce their demands to be paid.
  • Ivi Defends Its Online TV Service (Broadcasting & Cable, 10/24)
    Ivi TV says its online TV station streaming service is legal, but that a New York court should not pass judgment one way or the other, but instead transfer the case to a Seattle court.
  • Google Admits To Broader Collection Of Personal Data (The Washington Post, 10/23)
    Google said Friday that its "Street View" cars around the world accidentally collected more personal data than previously disclosed - including complete user e-mails and passwords - potentially breathing new life into investigations in various countries.
  • FCC Demands Information From Cablevision, Fox (Associated Press, 10/22)
    With a contract dispute still keeping Fox programming off Cablevision systems, federal regulators are demanding information from both companies about the details of their negotiations.
  • Fan Advocate Seeks Edge In The Washington Game (The New York Times, 10/22)
    Brian Frederick might be the country’s most important sports fan, but he rarely wears the colors of his favorite teams or can be heard cheering them on.
  • Networks Block Shows From Google TV (The Washington Post, 10/22)
    Networks ABC, CBS and NBC are blocking Google TV viewers from its Web-based shows, according to Google, in a move that raises questions about how federal regulators should oversee the nascent but fast-growing market for Internet television.
  • Comcast/NBC Merger Opponents Highlight Hulu Blockade (Broadband DSLReports.com, 10/21)
    As we recently noted, News Corporation recently took cable/broadcast retransmission disputes to an entirely new level by somehow convincing Hulu to block Cablevision broadband customers from accessing Fox content online --
  • TV Stations May Share Channels To Make Way For Mobile Internet (Bloomberg, 10/21)
    Television broadcasters may share their digital channels to make room for mobile high-speed Internet service under new rules, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski said.
  • Genachowski: Freeing Spectrum Will Create Billions Of Dollars (The Hill, 10/21)
    Meeting the demand for spectrum over the next five years will create an estimated $120 billion dollars for the mobile industry, according to a white paper released Thursday by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
  • Cable Companies Leverage Fox Decision In Comcast/NBCU Argument (Broadcasting & Cable, 10/20)
    The American Cable Association, DirecTV and Dish have have joined those using Fox's decision to briefly block Cablevision subscribers from Fox online content as leverage in their argument for online access conditions on the Comcast/NBCU merger.
  • FCC's Copps: Fox Threatened Net Neutrality (The Hill, 10/20)
    Federal Communications Commissioner (FCC) Michael Copps sounded a note of concern on Wednesday that Fox Networks threatened the openness of the Internet when the company reportedly blocked Cablevision subscribers from accessing its websites, including Hulu.com, which it partially owns.

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

  About ACA




ACA_new.jpg
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.

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

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