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ACA Calls On FCC To Fashion Broadband Speed Guide After USDA Food Pyramid

Consensus-Backed Pyramid Posted On Web Sites Will Keep Consumers Informed

PITTSBURGH, May 26, 2011 - The American Cable Association urged the Federal Communications Commission to keep consumers informed about broadband speeds by creating an informative guide modeled after the USDA's "food pyramid," especially one developed in consultation with various Internet stakeholders.

"Once this `food pyramid' for broadband is in place, ACA believes that obligations on broadband providers, particularly the smallest ones, should not exceed a straightforward requirement that the resulting speed chart be posted on the provider's website," ACA President and CEO Matthew M. Polka said.

ACA outlined its views in comments (attached) filed with the FCC today in connection with the agency's ongoing effort to make broadband speeds and other performance metrics as transparent as possible to consumers and e-commerce participants serving a host of commercial entities.

With the Internet firmly established as a vital channel of learning, commerce and communication, the FCC believes that consumers are entitled to have ready access to network speed capabilities to contribute to the important cause of informed decision-making.  ACA believes steps must be taken to reduce the burdens on small and mid-size broadband access providers in doing so.

In its comments, ACA stressed that by taking a measured approach, the FCC can meet its goal of producing a broadband speed guide that reflects the views of a wide spectrum of industry participants, consumer groups and experts, and makes available truly useful information to educate consumers about which available broadband option best suits their needs, while minimizing burdens on small providers.

ACA stressed that a simple yet informative ‘food pyramid' for broadband can both serve the interest of consumers and minimize regulatory burdens on ACA members that do not have the staff or economic resources to create and routinely update their own speed chart that would meet with public or regulatory approval. ACA believes the FCC itself should develop a standardized speed chart with input from industry stakeholders and undertake the responsibility of updating the information on a periodic basis.

"If the FCC decides to reach out to industry for advice, ACA would be willing to serve on a federal advisory committee or less formal advisory group assembled to assist in the development of a broadband speed guide," Polka added.

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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