PITTSBURGH, March 10, 2010 - Joining a large and diverse coalition deeply troubled with broadcasters' egregiously unfair treatment of consumers, the American Cable Association today called on the Federal Communications Commission to protect pay-television subscribers and promote competition by adopting new rules that would stop broadcasters from employing several abusive practices, including the pulling of signals just prior to nationally important events in order to extract excessive compensation from multichannel video providers.
As the FCC rulemaking develops, ACA will also urge the FCC to rein in the ability of TV stations to distort competition by charging smaller cable operators much more per-subscriber for retransmission consent than they normally charge other, usually much larger providers competing in the same market.
"The suggested remedies in the petition raise some of the ideas the FCC should consider. As this process moves forward, ACA will also address the rampant price discrimination faced by smaller cable operators and their customers and the need for regulations to fix this problem as well. Once the FCC puts this petition out for public comment, ACA will add this issue to the list of problems with the current retransmission consent rules, particularly for smaller operators, and strongly advocate for the problems to be solved," ACA President and CEO Matthew M. Polka said.
Polka added, "As troubling as the problem is for subscribers of large operators, the problem is at least twice as worse for customers of smaller, independent operators who have no leverage whatsoever against the broadcasters abusive tactics."
ACA's decision to yield to solutions crafted by the FCC reflects years of deep disappointment with the broadcasters' stubborn refusal to put the interest of consumers first and the outcome of commercial disputes second.
"ACA believes it is necessary for the FCC to intervene to protect consumers from a fractured retransmission consent process loaded down with regulatory advantages that broadcasters zealously exploit to enrich themselves and leave cable subscribers with higher monthly bills," Polka added.
The diverse group on the FCC petition is comprised of ACA, Bright House Networks, Cablevision, Charter Communications, DIRECTV, DISH Network, Insight Communications, Mediacom Communications, New America Foundation, Organization for the Promotion and Advancement of Small Telecommunications Companies (OPASTCO), Public Knowledge, Suddenlink Communications, Time Warner Cable, and Verizon.
About the American Cable Association
Based in Pittsburgh, the American Cable Association is a trade organization representing nearly 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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