PITTSBURGH, March 14, 2013 - Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) today told American Cable Association members that the existing federal telecommunications laws are long overdue for Capitol Hill review.
"Our telecom laws were written back in the days of the brick cellphone. Meanwhile, broadband services like the Internet and portable devices have rendered the old laws obsolete," Rep. Scalise said.
Rep. Scalise addressed the ACA Summit in Washington on a variety of communications issues, including the need to update the 1992 Cable Act.
"Congress typically reviews industry laws every 15 to 20 years. Current law is older than [the ACA] and doesn't meet the needs of the industry today. When laws are outdated, Congress cannot ignore that they can limit innovation," Rep. Scalise said.
Rep. Scalise is the chief sponsor of the Next Generation Television Marketplace Act, a sweeping measure that would, among other things, repeal retransmission consent provisions contained in the 1992 Cable Act and rely mostly on copyright law to underpin private negotiations between content owners and pay-TV distributors.
"The cable operators will negotiate with the broadcasters as they would with [cable] programming networks. You pay for the content you carry," Rep. Scalise said.
Rep. Scalise offered two suggestions to ACA Members in their meetings with members of Congress.
"Get on their radar with a regular dialogue. Explain what your business is and how it serves the people back in the home district or state. Let Congress know the harmful effects of outdated laws on their constituents." He mentioned TV station blackouts as one example.
Rep. Scalise told ACA Members to bear in mind that broadcasters also reach out to Congress on a regular basis.
"Be clear about your opposition. Understand that they are talking to Congress, too, so you must make your voice heard," Rep. Scalise said.
Scalise stressed that conversations should focus on fair marketplace competition, not on choosing sides.
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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