ACAction Brief - your connection to news and initiatives
ACA Public Issue – December 07, 2011 

 Key Development  

ACA's CALM Act Advocacy Continues As FCC Vote Nears

American Cable Association officials continued to discuss CALM Act implementation at the Federal Communications Commission, particularly to ensure that in enforcing the new TV commercial loudness law, the agency will not subject smaller multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs) to undue burdens.

ACA’s latest effort came Nov. 21 in which ACA Vice President of Government Affairs Ross Lieberman and outside counsel Thomas Cohen of Kelley Drye & Warren met with Joshua Cinelli, media advisor to FCC Commissioner Michael J. Copps, to review ACA’s comprehensive approach to implementing the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act, as the statute is formally called. The FCC is scheduled to vote on adoption of CALM Act regulations at its Dec. 13 open meeting in Washington, D.C.

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ACA Supports FCC Plan To Allow Basic Tier Encryption On All-Digital Systems

The American Cable Association has endorsed an FCC proposal to permit basic tier encryption by all-digital cable systems on a voluntary basis, agreeing that elimination of the analog-era encryption ban would promote efficiencies beneficial to operators and consumers without requiring replacement of cable-compatible equipment, including TV sets.

"ACA fully supports removing the prohibition on basic service tier encryption for digital cable systems. Available evidence suggests that permitting all-digital systems to encrypt the basic tier will significantly reduce the cost of turning customers' services on and off and will also help reduce cable signal theft," ACA President and CEO Matthew M. Polka said.

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ACA:FCC Should Exclude Independent Cable From Program Carriage Rules

The American Cable Association urged the Federal Communications Commission to uphold the intent of Congress by exempting independent cable operators from program carriage rules that were clearly designed to monitor discriminatory conduct of cable operators with the incentive to make carriage choices protecting their financial interests in cable programming networks.

"Any interpretation of the 1992 Cable Act that would apply the program carriage rules to independent cable operators would disregard Congressional intent of ensuring that vertically integrated cable operators do not discriminate against programmers in which they have no ownership ties," ACA President and CEO Matthew M. Polka said. "ACA believes that the FCC must avoid any outcome that would reverse nearly 20 years of settled law of excluding independent cable operators from program carriage mandates."

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ACA's Polka Praises FCC For Warning TV Stations On Legality Of Sharing Deals

In a Nov. 29 statement, American Cable Association President and CEO Matthew M. Polka praised the Federal Communications Commission for warning TV station owners that Shared Services Agreements (SSAs), which often create de facto mergers without obtaining necessary FCC consent, could run afoul of the agency’s TV station ownership rules.

"ACA is encouraged that the FCC recognized that the practices of broadcasters pursuant to SSAs can be at odds with the purpose and intent of the media ownership rules,” Polka said. "For quite some time, ACA has pointed out that TV station owners are consolidating their operations both through legally binding agreements, like SSAs, and through informal arrangements, to gain unrivaled bargaining leverage over independent cable operators in retransmission consent negotiations,” Polka said.

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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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