WASHINGTON, April 10, 2008— Urging legislators to prioritize the needs of consumers over the profit margins of broadcasters and programmers, ACA members participated in 165 meetings with Members of Congress and the FCC this week as part of the 15th Annual ACA Summit. The record number of ACA member companies participating in this year’s Summit – more than 130 – underscores the urgency of the issues facing independent cable operators, including bringing blatant retransmission consent price discrimination and anticompetitive tying practices to an end and ensuring customers receive quality programming choices, broadband services and value.
“The abuse of market power to force unfair and unreasonable retransmission consent fees and tying and bundling arrangements on independent cable operators is hurting the independent cable industry, small businesses, and underserved communities and customers,” said Matthew M. Polka, ACA president and chief executive officer. “The unmistakable success of this year’s Summit, the record turnout, and the valuable meetings in Congress and at the FCC is a clear reminder of the power independent cable has when we work together as an industry and speak together with one voice.”
The highlight of this year’s Summit came when Federal Communications Committee (FCC) Chairman Kevin J. Martin made a surprise visit to the event to announce a digital must carry exemption for cable systems with 552 MHz or smaller capacity and all all-analog systems. Acknowledging the capacity constraints of smaller cable operators, Chairman Martin stated: “our viewability order will ensure that after February 17, 2009, all of your customers will continue to be able to view their broadcast signals without increasing your carriage burden. And with the exemption order I am circulating, those of you with small systems will be relieved of the 2001 burden of carrying broadcasters’ HD signals.”
The ACA Summit was established 15 years ago to create a forum for independent cable operators to collectively voice their business concerns and needs of the customers they serve to policymakers. Following multiple sessions focusing on key issues facing independent cable and the current legislative and regulatory environment, U.S. Representative Mike Doyle (D-PA) addressed attendees before they set out for meetings with policymakers on Capitol Hill.
The 2009 ACA Summit is scheduled for April 28 – 29.
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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