American Cable Association President and CEO Matthew M. Polka issued the following statement on Aug.8 regarding a bipartisan legislative proposal by Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) (pictured far left) and Ranking Member Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) (pictured near left) to end local TV station blackouts and expand consumer choice in the receipt of local broadcast television stations from cable and satellite TV providers:
believes that Sen. Rockefeller and Sen. Thune, acting in a bipartisan fashion
on an important consumer welfare issue, deserve the highest praise for offering
a legislative proposal designed to advance the public interest in the receipt
of over-the-air local broadcast stations from pay-TV providers."
I know it's important for Congress to hear my voice and that I have the power to make a difference in the halls of Congress and the FCC. Taking action to express my concerns to my Member of Congress will have a positive impact for the small cable industry. Each small action I take can make a difference for my company. In order to become a Grassroots Champion, I know I must PLEDGE to take action and get involved to benefit my business, employees and customers!
YES, I take the pledge to become a Grassroots Champion!
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ACA's advocacy is based on telling policymakers in Washington, D.C., about issues that impact you and your business. Tell us your Top Three Issues, and you can win an ALL EXPENSE PAID TRIP to the ACA Summit.
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ACA's advocacy is based on telling the stories of our cable operator members to policymakers in Washington. Hearing how public policy issues impact you and your business is very important.
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We thought we'd be lucky enough to avoid getting into any retransmission consent disputes during this round of talks, but we never expected to see the sorts of demands that were being put forth by Fisher Communications. The broadcaster demanded substantially higher fees than those being requested by the other station owners in our Portland, Oregon market. We were also told that their ABC affiliated would be yanked from our channel lineup unless we agreed to all of their prices, terms, and conditions.
The DTV delay bill, expected to be signed by the President, says stations may make the switch to digital before the June date, meaning there could be a rolling transition in some markets. However, the FCC retains the right to deny a broadcaster's request if it's not found to be in the public interest. Since the bill's passage, hundreds of stations have expressed interest in staying on track to transition in February.
Congressed passed a bill on January 28th to delay the transition from analog to digital television until June 12; however, the FCC said that those stations that wish to make the transition on February 17, the original date for the DTV switch, will have an option to do so.
It may be seem incongruous with the concept of localism, butexisting Federal rules and regulations hamper my company's ability to offer itscustomers, all of whom reside in Minnesota,with broadcast stations that provide their state's news, weather and sports.
~ Gary Evans, CEO
"Our small size would make it difficult to handle a dual carriage obligation. I don't know how an operator in our situation affords the headend equipment and other costs."
With the upcoming round of retransmission consent negotiations, we know that we'll be forced to pay fees to broadcasters for the first time, and unfortunately our customers will have to foot the bill. As a small cable operator, programming is our already largest expense by far, and we simply cannot absorb any more increases in our carriage fees.
~David Shipley, Business Manager
Independent cable operators face unique challenges that require special consideration by the FCC in terms of how it deals with the digital television transition to ensure requirements do not impact the consumers or communities served - specifically, the digital must-carry requirements. Read More
In order for small cable operators to provide their customers with popular programming, large programmers often make them provide undesired programming on their most widely subscribed to tiers. Consumers pay the price for this abusive practice with higher cable rates and programming that is not aligned with their interests. Read More
When broadcasters abuse their market power to demand exorbitant fees from cable operators who want to offer their signals, consumers always pay the price. Broadcasters often discriminate against small and medium-sized cable operators, extracting retransmission consent fees at substantially higher per-subscriber rates than charged larger providers. Read More
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In order to protect the interests of independent cable operators, it is essential that members of Congress understand and respect the important role that ACA's more than 900 small and medium sized companies play in delivering communications services to more than 7 million households across the United States.
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