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ACA Asks FCC To Freeze Small Cable's Regulatory Fees

Proposed Increases Conflict with Broadband Deployment Goals

PITTSBURGH, June 5, 2009 - The American Cable Association yesterday urged the Federal Communications Commission to freeze key regulatory fees at current levels for truly small cable operators, saying sharp fee increases under discussion would, when added to all the other government fees and mandates, deprive small cable owners of needed capital to deploy advanced services, such as high-speed Internet access, in small markets and rural areas.

"The FCC has to remember that an increase in regulatory fees puts a much greater strain on small, independent cable operators than on large subscription-TV providers. Holding fees at current levels for these providers makes sense considering that Congress and the Administration are looking to these operators to help deploy broadband in unserved and underserved areas," ACA president and CEO Matthew M. Polka said.

In a filing Thursday (available here), ACA asked the FCC to freeze regulatory fees at fiscal 2008 levels for cable operators with 5,000 subscribers or fewer. About three-quarters of ACA members would fall under the 5,000-or-fewer benchmark.

The FCC funds its annual operations by assessing fees on regulated entities, including the owners of small cable systems. ACA's support for a freeze came after the FCC proposed hiking per-subscriber cable fees by 10 percent and microwave relay licenses used primarily by cable operators by more than 25%. 

ACA's filing made other recommendations designed to make it easier for small cable providers to comply with the FCC's regulatory fee program.

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About the American Cable Association

Based in Pittsburgh, the American Cable Association is a trade organization representing more than 900 smaller and medium-sized, independent cable companies who provide broadband services for more than 7 million cable subscribers primarily located in rural and smaller suburban markets across America.  Through active participation in the regulatory and legislative process in Washington, D.C., ACA's members work together to advance the interests of their customers and ensure the future competitiveness and viability of their business.  For more information, visit http://www.americancable.org/

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