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FCC Ex Parte regarding the Retransmission Consent Quiet Period and Digital Must Carry

Submission Date: 
08/13/2008

August 13, 2008

Ms. Marlene Dortch
Secretary
Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20554

VIA ECFS

RE: American Cable Association (“ACA”); Notice of Ex Parte Presentation, MB Docket No. 07-170; Retransmission Consent “Quiet Period”

Dear Ms. Dortch:

Under 47 C.F.R. § 1.1206(b), we electronically provide this notice of an ex parte presentation in the dockets listed above. On August 11, 2008, the following persons met with Elizabeth Andrion, Legal Advisor to FCC Chairman Kevin J. Martin:

Ross J. Lieberman, ACA, Vice President of Government Affairs
Jeremy M. Kissel, Cinnamon Mueller, Attorney for ACA

The purpose of the meeting was to reiterate ACA's longstanding support for a retransmission consent "quiet period", beginning no later than January 1, 2009, if not earlier, and running through May 31, 2009. ACA stressed that a significant number of its members' retransmission consent agreements would expire on December 31 with large and small broadcasters across the country. As previously filed, across ACA's nearly 1,100 member operators, an estimated 4,000 to 5,000 retransmission consent agreements will expire at the end of the year. Participants explained that given the increasingly contentious nature of retransmission consent negotiations, and broadcasters' increasing willingness to pull signals from small cable systems, it is vital that the Commission impose a quiet period on both broadcasters and cable operators before these agreements actually run out. Taking retransmission consent disputes off the table before the DTV transition and for a reasonable time afterward will not only benefit cable customers and television viewers, but will also encourage a smoother transition to digital television by permitting cable operators and broadcasters to both focus their energies on resolving technical issues and educating consumers. Moreover, broadcasters will be no worse off by a quiet period that begins when the majority of retransmission consent contracts end because once the waiting time is over, they will be able to resume their talks with operators and engage in all the same practices, including the pulling of signals, that force operators into accepting their prices, terms, and conditions. In the meeting, ACA urged prompt FCC action on this matter.

Participants further noted ACA's continued support for a digital must carry exemption for cable operators with limited subscribers or capacity, and urged adoption of this Order.

Sincerely,


Jeremy M. Kissel

cc: Elizabeth Andrion (via email)
Ross J. Lieberman

AttachmentSize
FCC Filing-Elizabeth Andrion Ex Parte 081308.pdf26.22 KB

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