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ACAction Brief - your connection to news and initiatives
Public Issue – October 28, 2009
   
 Key Developments  

ACA to FCC: Ensuring Unfettered Consumer Access to Internet Content Means Restricting Closed Internet Models like ESPN360

FCC Logo
As the Federal Communications Commission launched its Net Neutrality rulemaking, the American Cable Association issued the following caution: Ensuring that consumers have access to all lawful content means the FCC must stop powerful content providers from using wholesale arrangements to restrict consumer access to content. ACA cited ESPN360.com as an example where the most powerful sports programmer denies access to content, unless a consumer subscribes to a particular broadband provider.

"ACA believes that content distributors such as ESPN360 should live under the same Net Neutrality rules as broadband service providers," American Cable Association President and CEO Matthew M. Polka said. "The foremost principle of Net Neutrality is that consumers can access the legal content of their choice. ESPN360 fails that principle, and any regulation must address that." Read More / Comment on Story

Sunflower Broadband COO and ACA Board Member Patrick Knorr Calls on Congress to Curb Media Conglomerates

Patrick Knorr  
By updating old laws and regulations, Congress can put a stop to media conglomerates that are taking advantage of consumers served by small, independent cable operators while also ensuring that programmers' abusive contracting practices do not become the norm and destroy the promise of an open and affordable Internet, Patrick Knorr, Chief Operating Officer of Sunflower Broadband, said in testimony before a House subcommittee.

"We hope you will take advantage of this unique moment in time to consider how to improve the rules that govern our marketplace that are nearly two decades old and pre-date the emergence of the Internet," Knorr said in written testimony. "Consumers deserve better services than can be provided under today's regulatory regime. We are also concerned about the future of a free and affordable Internet that is being threatened by the emerging business model that compels consolidated and dominant content providers to leverage their video content in anti-consumer ways."

To see a video of Knorr's testimony, click here.

Read More / Comment on Story

 News Headlines  
  • Mediacom Asks FCC For Retrans Help (Multichannel News, 10/25)
    Mediacom Communications is back in battle formation against Sinclair Broadcast Group, claiming in a filing with the Federal Communications Commission that the broadcaster -- the source of a heated retransmission consent battle in 2006 -- is attempting to gouge the cable company with higher fees.
  • Net Neutrality Faces Political, Legal Hurdles (CNN.com, 10/24)
    The Federal Communications Commission opened an inquiry Friday into whether Google Inc.'s phone-management service is restricting calls as regulators grappled with how to regulate new-media products.
  • FCC Releases Notice Of Inquiry On Content Control Tech (Broadcasting & Cable, 10/23)
    The FCC Friday released its notice of inquiry on content control technologies (officially titled "Empowering Parents and Protecting Children in an Evolving Media Landscape").
  • Boucher Wants Input On FCC's Program Carriage Complaint Process (Broadcasting & Cable, 10/23)
    A panel of the House Energy & Commerce Committee on Thursday unanimously voted in favor of legislation that would require the FCC to implement a new loudness standard within a year.
  • FCC Votes To Begin Crafting `Net Neutrality' Rules (Yahoo! Tech, 10/22)
    Federal regulators took an important step Thursday toward prohibiting broadband providers from favoring or discriminating against certain kinds of Internet traffic.
  • FCC Floats Cash-For-TV-Spectrum Scheme (TVNewsCheck, 10/21)
    FCC broadband czar Blair Levin earlier this month met with leading TV broadcasters in Washington to discuss the nation's urgent need for more spectrum for wireless broadband access to the Internet and the possibility of broadcasters' relinquishing most of their spectrum to help meet that demand.
  • Comcast, DirecTV Win Dismissal Of Consumers' 'Bundling' Lawsuit (Broadcasting & Cable, 10/19)
    Comcast Corp., DirecTV Group Inc. and 11 other pay-TV providers won dismissal of an antitrust lawsuit brought by consumers who said they are harmed by the industry practice of bundling programs in subscription packages.
  • Groups Say FCC Bloggers Exemption Is Discriminatory (Broadcasting & Cable, 10/19)
    A quartet of civil rights organizations has asked the FCC to "correct or amend" its decision to allow online commenters to the FCC's blog to weigh in on proposed open Internet rules during the 7-day period when Sunshine rules prevent lobbying of commissioners on public meeting agenda items.
  • Vendors Pitch TV Volume-Control Tech Ahead Of Federal Law (Multichannel News, 10/19)
    Screaming used-car salesmen on TV may become a thing of past - or, at any rate, they'll likely be shushed.
  • Obama's Tech Chief Reaffirms Net-Neutrality Support (The Washington Post, 10/17)
    The nation's chief technology officer on Friday reaffirmed the White House's support for rules that would prevent Internet providers from acting as gatekeepers over Web content, wading into an increasingly contentious debate over net-neutrality regulations.
  • Charter Communications Reorganization Plan Approved (Bloomberg, 10/16)
    Charter Communications Inc., the bankrupt cable operator, won a judge's approval of its plan to reorganize by reinstating $11.8 billion in debt.
  • House Committee Approves Satellite Reauthorization Bill (Multichannel News, 10/15)
    The House Energy & Commerce Committee Thursday approved reauthorization of the bill granting satellite operators a compulsory license to carry distant TV network station signals.
  • FCC Broadband Study Argues For Open Access (Internetnews.com, 10/15)
    A new study commissioned by the Federal Communications Commission has identified open access networks as a key factor in spurring competition and driving down prices for broadband service.
  • Lawmakers Query Big Phone Cos On Rural Connection Rates (The Wall Street Journal, 10/14)
    Senior House Lawmakers on Wednesday sought help from some of the country's biggest phone companies to investigate what the companies say are abuses of costly connection charges in rural areas.

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

 About ACA  

  ACA_new.jpg
Small markets and rural areas across the country are receiving video, high-speed broadband, and phone services from more than 900 small and medium-sized independent operators represented by the American Cable Association (ACA).

ACA's membership comprises cable, phone, and fiber-to-the-home operators and municipalities, who deliver these affordable basic and advanced services, such as high-definition television, next generation Internet access, and digital phone, to more than 7 million households and businesses, some of whom have no other means of receiving these vital services.

These communications services are considered by most to be essential for individuals, companies, and other entities, like schools and hospitals, and are crucial to America's economic prosperity, particularly in smaller markets and rural areas.

The ACA works to ensure its members are treated fairly in the marketplace and in Washington, so that small and medium-sized independent operators may continue to thrive and deliver affordable video, broadband, and phone services to Main Street America. Through active participation in the legislative and regulatory process, ACA and its members advocate for the interests of their customers, their companies, and their communities to help ensure the continued viability of their hometown's way of life.

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

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