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FCC Leased Access Reporting Requirement Struck Down By OMB

ACA Praises Reduced Burden on Small Cable Operators

PITTSBURGH, July 10, 2008-The American Cable Association today applauded the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) decision to strike down burdensome reporting requirements for small cable operators. OMB's denial of the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) "New Regulations" for commercial leased access came after objections by ACA and other cable industry representatives in recent months.

In its May 28 filing, ACA demonstrated that the new regulations were a violation of the Federal Paperwork Reduction Act. In addition, although the Commission estimated compliance would require a"mere 27 hours per cable system," many ACA members reported higher time requirements and a more significant impact on business operations, staffing,and ability to deploy advanced services.

"The majority of ACA's members are small systems serving small towns of fewer than 5,000 subscribers," said ACA President and Chief Executive Officer Matthew M. Polka. "These men and women are quintessential small business owners trying to deploy advanced video, internet and phone to their customers and their communities with finite resources and precious time to spare. Increasing the amount of time, money, and energy required to comply with disproportionate, burdensome information collection requirements hinders the ability of our member companies to deploy these important services. This order ran contrary to the FCC's continued efforts to reduce small business reporting burdens, and the OMB was right toreject it."

In its disapproval order issued earlier today, the OMB cited the following as cause for its rejection of the FCC's "New Requirements:"

  • Failure to demonstrate the need for reducing from 15 days to three days the time to respond to leased access information requests;
  • Failure to demonstrate that it had taken reasonable steps to minimize the burden on cable operators, who will be required to hire new staff to comply with the shortened response deadline and the increased number of leased access inquiries (which would occur as a result of the reduced rates);
  • Failure to demonstrate the practical utility and need for an increased number of leased access inquiries to cable operators and the inherent burden that would result; and,
  • Failure to demonstrate that there were reasonable mechanisms in place to protect proprietary and confidential information that cable operators would be required to provide to potential programmers.

The National Cable &Telecommunications Association (NCTA) and Comcast Corporation also filed objections to the new regulations.

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About the American Cable Association

Based in Pittsburgh, the American Cable Association is a trade organization representing 1,100 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 www.americancable.org.

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