GRAPEVINE, TEXAS, July 27, 2009 - ACA President and CEO Matthew M. Polka asserted that small, independent cable operators have a right to be concerned if Web content providers decide to block consumer access to their Web sites until broadband access providers agree to pay wholesale access fees.
Polka noted that the Walt Disney Co.'s ESPN360.com is pursuing a closed Internet business model that requires broadband access providers to pay fees based on their total subscriber base, even though perhaps a majority of subscribers will not be watching sports programming on a computer.
"Here we have drawn a line in the sand. ACA will fight ESPN360.com and its business model clones because all they do is drive up the retail cost of broadband for everyone, especially for those who have absolutely no interest in viewing sports on a computer screen," Polka said.
Polka's comments came in a keynote address to hundreds of ACA members who gathered for the 4th Annual Independent Cable Show organized by ACA and the National Cable Television Cooperative, Inc., a Lenexa, Kansas-based nonprofit that purchases programming and equipment for U.S. cable operators.
ACA's view is that consumers should have the ability to access all legal Web content on their own and that their access to services like ESPN360.com should not be conditioned on whether or not their broadband access provider has an agreement with Disney.
"With video exploding on the Internet, big media companies are experimenting with business models that are far from friendly toward ACA members. Disney is demanding fees from small cable to ensure their broadband subscribers can click on ESPN360.com on the Internet," Polka said. "In our view, ESPN360.com needs to have a direct relationship with the consumer and not use broadband providers as toll collectors on the Information Superhighway."
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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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