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ACA President & CEO Matthew M. Polka Comments On NAB’s Retransmission Consent Letter To The FCC

PITTSBURGH, October 4, 2011 - "The notion that retransmission consent negotiations take place in a free market is a figment of NAB's creative imagination. In a truly free environment, TV stations would not benefit from a government-supported market allocation scheme that artificially limits supply; from network exclusivity rules that deny consumers access to stations whose programming they prefer to view; from mandatory carriage rules for stations that refuse to invest in local content; and from rules that force all cable customers to make local TV stations their first purchase.

"NAB's letter extolling the free market should be translated to say that broadcasters believe that bargaining in good faith means they have every right to orchestrate a ‘blackmail or blackout' retransmission consent strategy across the country with impunity, especially against independent cable operators who are routinely forced to pay discriminatory fees that distort competition among local pay-TV providers.

"With nearly 900 independent cable operators renegotiating carriage deals with hundreds of broadcasters between October 1 and December 31, 2011, the FCC should use the retransmission consent rulemaking that has been open since March as a first step to correct a seriously flawed system that allows TV stations to line their pockets at the expense of taxpayers who have richly rewarded station owners with use of free spectrum.  It's not too late to act."

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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