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FCC’s Pai Wants Modern FCC

Tells ACA That Rules Must Keep Pace, Promote Innovation

PITTSBURGH, March 14, 2013 - FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai told American Cable Association Members that he favors modernization at the Federal Communications Commission with an emphasis on process reform.

"We need to act at the same speed as the telecommunications industry. Rulemakings must be timely. Proposals for regulation must have a framework that allows innovation to flourish," Pai said. "[FCC] reform is doable, and it's good government."

Pai took questions Wednesday from ACA President and CEO Matthew M. Polka during the annual ACA Summit in Washington, D.C.

"ACA gives us the information we need to consider on issues critical to independent cable operators," Pai said.

Pai said he favors light-handed oversight with an emphasis on deregulation, adding that policies should foster fair marketplace competition.

Pai also he wants greater transparency and accountability for the agency. "We could adopt dashboard metrics to enable Congress and the public to measure our performance," he said.

On equitable sharing of broadband spectrum, Pai suggested usage-based billing as a feasible option since consumers accept pay-for-use scenarios, for example, at restaurants.

Pai said he understood the often crippling effects of archaic and unfair regulations.

"The FCC must consider the impact of its rules on small cable operators. Regulatory costs such as emergency alert compliance must not drive companies out of business," Pai said.

On retransmission consent reform, Pai said he felt the FCC had a limited role. "Any meaningful changes must happen through Congress, as FCC authority is limited," he said.

Forbearance -- the ability for the FCC to set aside burdensome regulations on cable operators -- would also need to be authorized by Congress.

Independent cable operators from communities all across the great American heartland are gathering in Washington, D.C., this week to celebrate two decades of achievement at the 20th Summit.

The ACA Summit - cable's premier event for smaller, independent and competitive cable operators - is widely considered the best opportunity for small business owners serving hometown America with advanced communications services to advocate for change in face-to-face exchanges with Obama Administration officials, Capitol Hill lawmakers and senior FCC personnel.

The 20th ACA Summit extends a long tradition as the most important forum nationally to honor the critical role played by independent cable operators that serve rural and remote regions of the country that are typically much more costly to build out with advanced technology.

The year's ACA Summit is once again underscoring the trade group's firm commitment to finding consensus and highlighting progress made on many critical issues, especially retransmission consent, broadband deployment and access to content on fair and reasonable terms.

For further information about the ACA Summit 2013 agenda and the exciting lineup of speakers please visit: http://acasummit.org

About the American Cable Association: Based in Pittsburgh, the American Cable Association is a trade organization representing about 850 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 http://www.americancable.org

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