ACAction Brief - your connection to news and initiatives
Public Issue – June 8, 2011 

 Key Development  

ACA Asks FCC To Update Universal Service For Broadband Age

The American Cable Association called on the Federal Communications Commission to modernize the Universal Service Fund in a way that both removes inefficiencies from the program and promotes access to affordable broadband Internet for all Americans, especially those who reside in high-cost rural areas.

"Under Chairman Genachowski's leadership, the FCC is poised to create a new mission for the Universal Service Fund, which is to rely on High-Cost fund money to support rural broadband deployment for the first time in our nation's history," ACA President and CEO Matthew M. Polka said. "With adoption of needed reforms proposed by the ACA in detail, the independent cable community fully anticipates the FCC's new Connect America Fund (CAF) will make significant headway in bringing about universal broadband service. Clearly, the status quo is unacceptable."

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Rural Pay-TV Providers Seek Retention Of Compulsory License

Rural groups providing pay-television services in hometown America say 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 compulsory license has advanced the interests of the television viewing public since 1976. Dismantling this tried-and-true system now would only lead to unjust enrichment for sports leagues and Hollywood studios already fairly compensated under current law," American Cable Association President and CEO Matthew M. Polka said.

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ACA Proposes Changes To FCC's Pending Video Description Rules

The American Cable Association is requesting important adjustments and clarifications from the Federal Communications Commission to proposed video description regulations to ensure that new rules do not place unnecessary financial burdens on small cable providers in their effort to comply.

"In implementing Congress' new video description law's goal of enhancing the television experience for visually impaired audiences, the FCC needs to adjust a few rules to minimize cost and implementation burdens on small cable companies not already exempt under the law," ACA President and CEO Matthew M. Polka said.

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ACA Backs Broadband Speed Guide Based On USDA Food Pyramid

The American Cable Association urged the Federal Communications Commission to keep consumers informed about broadband speeds by creating an informative guide based on the USDA's "food pyramid," especially one developed in consultation with various Internet stakeholders.

"Once this `food pyramid' for broadband is in place, ACA believes that obligations on broadband providers, particularly the smallest ones, should not exceed a straightforward requirement that the resulting speed chart be posted on the provider's website," ACA President and CEO Matthew M. Polka said.

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ACA To FCC: Don't Harm Cable In Plan To Reclaim TV Spectrum

The American Cable Association is urging the Federal Communications Commission to refrain from imposing new regulatory burdens on cable operators as part of any attempt to reclaim broadcast spectrum for allocation to more innovative users, such as wireless broadband providers.

"Underutilization of broadcast TV spectrum is a major policy issue that is appropriately under close FCC scrutiny to ensure consumers enjoy a robust mobile broadband environment in the future. From ACA's perspective, FCC adoption of new broadband spectrum policies should not result in additional regulatory burdens for small and mid-size cable operators, including expanded cable carriage rights for full-power or low-power TV stations," ACA President and CEO Matthew M. Polka.

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  News Headlines
  • Time Warner Cable CEO Sees Opportunity For Broadband-Only Customers (, 6/6)
    Time Warner Cable Inc. (TWC) Chief Executive Glenn Britt said Wednesday his company has an opportunity to win more broadband-only customers as broadband replaces TV as the cable industry's anchor product.
  • Cable Rates Are Rising, But Don't Blame Your Provider - Entirely (The Boston Globe, 6/5)
    Cable subscribers in Boston are fuming about rising bills, and many blame what they see as Comcast Corp.’s virtual monopoly in the city.
  • FCC Says Baker Followed Rules In Seeking Lobbying Job (National Journal, 6/2)
    Outgoing Federal Communications Commissioner Meredith Attwell Baker worked with the agency's general counsel to make sure she followed ethics rules while negotiating for a new job with Comcast/NBCUniversal, according to a letter from FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski.
  • Low Power TV Broadcasters Hope To Offer Rural Broadband (Connected Planet, 6/2)
    The FCC hopes to lure broadcasters into giving up spectrum in exchange for sharing in the proceeds of a spectrum auction.
  • FCC Could Make VoIP Providers Pay (Politico, 6/2)
    More and more Americans are abandoning home telephone lines in favor of mobile phones, Skype, Google Voice and Vonage — and that leaves the Federal Communications Commission with a problem: figuring out what digital-age companies should pay to connect calls to the old Ma Bell network.
  • Video To Comprise Half Of 'Net Traffic By End Of 2012: Cisco (Multichannel News, 6/1)
    Video -- already the biggest component of Internet traffic -- will account for more than 50% by the end of next year and reach 62% by the end of 2015, according to Cisco's latest Visual Networking Index Forecast.
  • Rep. Walden Calls For Incentive TV Spectrum Auctions (The Hill, 6/1)
    The top telecom overseer in the House made a strong case for passing incentive auction legislation at a hearing on Wednesday.
  • CEA Survey: 10% Of Pay-TV Households Plan To Cut Cord In 2011 (Multichannel News, 5/31)
    About 10% of pay-TV households are planning to cancel their cable, satellite or telco TV service this year -- but they're turning to Internet sources of content, not over-the-air broadcasts, according to research from the Consumer Electronics Association.
  • Survey Shows Big Jump In Use Of Net To Make Calls (National Journal, 5/31)
    Nearly 20 percent of all American adults now use the Internet to make phone calls, according to a new survey released Monday from the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project.
  • FCC Issues CALM Act NPRM (Multichannel News, 5/27)
    The Federal Communications Commission has quietly released its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on implementation of the CALM (Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation) Act, which regulates the loudness of commercials on broadcast and cable TV.
  • Public Knowledge Wants To Put Bite In FCC Retrans Enforcement (Multichannel News, 5/27)
    Digital rights public interest group Public Knowledge said Friday that the FCC has more power to remake retrans negotiations than it is willing to admit and urged it to use it.
  • FCC Asks AT&T For Proof Of Airwaves Shortage (, 5/27)
    Federal regulators asked AT&T Inc. (T) to provide evidence of the airwaves shortage the company cited as a reason for its proposed $39 billion purchase of T-Mobile USA Inc.

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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