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ACA Commends FCC For Responding To Independent Cable's Call To Reform Set-Top Box Rules

Trade Group's Successful Multiyear Effort To Relax CableCARD Rules Will Benefit Consumers Across Rural America

PITTSBURGH, October 14, 2010 - The American Cable Association applauded the Federal Communications Commission for modifying its CableCARD rules today in favor of a new approach sought by the independent cable community for many years that will greatly accelerate the availability of HD programming and faster Internet download speeds across rural America.

"ACA commends the FCC for recognizing that the burden on independent cable operators to procure expensive HD set-top boxes under the CableCARD regime not only slowed their analog-to-digital TV transition but also tied up valuable bandwidth that could not be allocated to broadband or other advanced services. Today's laudable FCC action puts the country on the right path and deserves broad support from industry and consumers," American Cable Association President and CEO Matthew M. Polka said.

The FCC unanimously adopted the rules today at its monthly public meeting in Washington, D.C. According to statements at the meeting, the FCC's new rules will allow cable operators to deploy low-cost HD set-top boxes that have limited features and functionalities - namely, streamlined boxes that are expected to cost no more than $50 at wholesale, or several hundreds dollars less than CableCARD-enabled boxes that put a financial burden on many ACA members.

The ability to use low-cost HD boxes will provide small cable operators with an affordable avenue to continue the transition of their analog channels to digital. The faster cable operators can transition, the sooner they'll have the network capacity to offer more HD channels in addition to a suite of IP-enabled voice, video and data services and products, especially faster Internet throughput speeds.

Over the years, ACA has stressed that the availability of low-cost, integrated, HD-capable set-top boxes would have practical benefits -- for example, consumers could select a basic HD set-top for an HD set in a bedroom instead of an expensive advanced box with two-way functionality and video-on-demand features.  Expressing the view of many stakeholders, ACA maintained that new set-top policies would not have a substantial impact on the FCC's mandate to promote a competitive retail market for CableCARD navigation devices and would not substantially affect cable operators' reliance on the CableCARD standard.

 

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 7.6 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

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