ACAction Brief - your connection to news and initiatives
Public Issue – June 22, 2011 

 Key Development  

ACA Salutes Rich Fickle's Appointment As NCTC's New President/CEO

Rich Fickle  
The American Cable Association congratulated veteran cable and media executive Rich Fickle on his June 14 appointment as President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Cable Television Cooperative (NCTC), an organization with which ACA has enjoyed long and productive ties in advancing the cause of the independent cable community and the millions of consumers it serves.

ACA is especially pleased with this announcement because so many ACA members worked closely with Fickle in the complex yet thoroughly successful rollout of the Headend in the Sky (HITS) service while he was Senior Vice President and General Manager of HITS and Interactive TV for AT&T Broadband.

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ACA's Lieberman Urges U.S. Copyright Office To Keep Compulsory License

American Cable Association Vice President of Government Affairs Ross J. Lieberman testified on June 10 before the U.S. Copyright Office to stress that retention of the cable compulsory license is essential to providing millions of consumers with routine and predictable access to local and distant broadcast TV services at affordable rates.

“The license has served as Congress intended, benefitting consumers, broadcasters, distributors, and the vast majority of rights holders through efficient clearance of copyright on broadcast signals. It has been particularly beneficial to smaller pay-TV providers, who have not been disproportionately burdened by the demands of clearing copyright,” Lieberman said.

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ACA: FCC Must Recognize Price Discrimination Against Independent Cable

The American Cable Association called on the Federal Communications Commission to recognize the serious harms of rampant price discrimination practiced by content providers against independent cable operators in the agency's new report to Congress on the status of competition in the delivery of video programming to the public.

"Independent cable operators pay disproportionately higher prices for video content as a result of TV stations that engage in price discrimination and national cable networks that routinely abuse their market power," ACA President and CEO Matthew M. Polka said. "The FCC's video competition report must explain to Congress that content owners' coercive and anti-competitive conduct frequently documented by ACA leads to the gross misallocation of capital, undermining competition in pay-TV markets as well as reducing investment in broadband facilities."

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ACA Praises Senate Panel For Addressing Smaller Cable Concerns In New Bill

The American Cable Association praised the Senate Commerce Committee on the June 8 passage of legislation that would set aside valuable spectrum for a national public safety network for first responders and provide the Federal Communications Commission with the authority both to auction TV spectrum and compensate broadcasters that give up airwaves with some of the auction revenue. ACA also thanked the Senate panel for addressing the concerns of smaller cable operators.

“Under Chairman Rockefeller's leadership, the Senate Commerce Committee has approved legislation that will address many complex and difficult issues in the communications sector in a fair and balanced manner. ACA commends Chairman Rockefeller and Ranking Member Hutchison on their comprehensive approach that at once promotes spectrum efficiency, safeguards the interests of the public safety community and minimizes the impact of these policies on other parties, like smaller cable operators,” ACA President and CEO Matthew M. Polka said.

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ACA: FCC Should Avoid Burdensome Broadband Speed Guide

In response to the Federal Communications Commission's desire to educate consumers about broadband speeds and other performance metrics, the American Cable Association continued to persuade the FCC to take responsibility for creating the broadband speed guide itself with input from industry and not overburden broadband providers that will be required to disseminate this information to consumers.

“Having the FCC develop a simple and standardized broadband speed and performance guide that broadband providers can make available on their websites will minimize the potential administrative burdens and costs of compliance on smaller broadband Internet service providers,” ACA President and CEO Matthew M. Polka said.

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  News Headlines

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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