WASHINGTON, D.C., April 13, 2011 - The American Cable Association's 18th Summit concluded on a high note today with a special legislative policy update from House Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Greg Walden, whose overview examined many of the key telecommunications issues that hundreds of ACA members planned to discuss in meetings with other Capitol Hill lawmakers throughout the day.
"I am very honored that Chairman Walden would share his deep legislative knowledge in a wide-ranging briefing that only a seasoned insider of his caliber could deliver to a room filled to capacity with independent cable operators highly motivated to effect policy change in Washington," ACA President and CEO Matthew M. Polka said. "Aware new communications laws are coming, ACA is planning to work with Chairman Walden to ensure that Congress understands the unique economics surrounding the business plans that ACA members have ready to go for their rural markets."
Chairman Walden -- whose panel oversees the Federal Communications Commission and the telecommunications industry, including small cable operators -- spoke moments before waves of ACA members headed to Capitol Hill for briefings in Congressional offices to share ACA's policy goals for at least the duration of the 112th Congress.
The three-day ACA Summit wrapped up with more than 150 Capitol Hill visits in addition to meetings with FCC officials. Attendance at this year's Summit was strong as the event drew 321 registered attendees from a cross-section of the industry, including cable companies, equipment vendors, programming suppliers and government officials on the federal and state levels.
In his breakfast session comments, Chairman Walden discussed a numbers key issues, ranging from retransmission consent to Net Neutrality, spectrum policy, and reform of the FCC to create more openness and transparency Although Walden expressed support for market-based solutions to many challenging issues facing ACA members, he did remark that he was "not unsympathetic" to ACA's view that retransmission consent backs small cable operators into a corner in ways that suggest a less than perfect market situation. Chairman Walden said he was hopeful consumers would be able to vote with their TV remotes to settle some of the content access debates raging today.
"Chairman Walden, who operated radio stations in his home state of Oregon for 22 years, knows what it means to meet a payroll as a former small businessman," Polka added. "With enthusiastic support from Chairman Walden, hundreds of ACA members - many traveling thousands of miles to be here - fanned out across Capitol Hill to assure lawmakers that Hometown America is receiving the very best communications services on the market."
ACA members gathered for this year's Summit in support of their message that good policymaking ensures that rural companies serving high-cost areas are treated fairly in the marketplace and not overburdened by regulations, so they may continue to supply affordable communications services to their communities. ACA members stressed that the rules of the road set by government must take into account the unique economics of rural deployment and that policy misjudgments can freeze investment and create digital disparities that could take years to remove.
Other ACA Summit 2011 highlights included the FCC Keynote Address by FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, who preceded a Broadband Access panel that included Zac Katz, Legal Advisor to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski; Larry Landis, Commissioner, Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission; Tom Power, Chief of Staff, National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA); and David Villano, Assistant Administrator for the Telecommunications Program at the Rural Utilities Service in the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
For more, please visit: ACA Summit.org
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 business. For more information, visit http://www.americancable.org/
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