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ACA's 21st D.C. Summit: Independent Cable Advances Reform Agenda, Shows Support For Innovators Like Aereo

PITTSBURGH, April 7, 2014 - Hearing from speakers like Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler, Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (D-Calif.) and Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) on the heels of one of the most significant votes at the FCC in more than two decades, American Cable Association members left Washington, D.C.., filled with a sense of hope that 2014 will get only better on the public policy front.

ACA President and CEO Matthew M. Polka praised Chairman Wheeler, Rep. Eshoo and Rep. Welch for addressing the key issues facing the independent cable community and for outlining their goals and ideas for promoting the public interest in the fast-paced world of digital communications.

"With good cheer and great enthusiasm, ACA Members came to Washington last week to make their case in person for the passage of new laws and policies that will reflect the marketplace that independent cable operators and their customers operate in today," ACA President and CEO Matthew M. Polka said. "I'm positive no one can make the case for communications reform better than ACA members determined to get their message out to FCC leaders, Senators or Representatives."

Polka expressed thanks to Aereo CEO and founder Chet Kanojia for speaking to ACA Summit attendee just a few weeks before his company's legal showdown with the broadcasters in the U.S. Supreme Court.

"America progress in communications occurs because of entrepreneurs like Chet Kanojia and executives leading ACA member companies who are determined to find new ways of expanding choice and competition," Polka said.

On April 2, ACA filed an amicus brief in the Supreme Court asking the high court to affirm the right to watch free over-the-air broadcasts.

Polka also extended his thanks to veteran Philadelphia Inquirer media and communications reporter Bob Fernandez for moderating the panel discussion on broadband policy amid rapid technological change. The panelists were Gene Kimmelman, President and CEO of Public Knowledge in Washington, D.C.; Craig Moffett, telecommunications analyst at MoffettNathanson in New York City; and Steve Weed, CEO of Wave Broadband in Kirkland, Wash.

More than 300 ACA Members attended the 21st ACA Summit, cable's premier event for showing the progress made by smaller, independent and competitive cable operators in providing hometown America with access to advanced communications services needed to connect their towns and communities to the world of digital commerce, knowledge and sharing. About two-dozen members of the print and electronic media covered the April 2 Summit policy forum.

The ACA Summit began a day after the FCC voted - unanimously - to ban coordinated retransmission consent negotiations between separately owned, top-four rated stations in the same market.  The FCC vote was the most significant, self-initiated change to the retransmission consent rules affecting independent cable operators since the rules were first adopted in 1993.

The 21st ACA Summit extended its 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, which are typically much more costly to build out with advanced technology.

This year's ACA Summit coincided with independent cable's efforts on a number of policy issues, including further action to update retransmission consent and ensure the ability of a buying group like the National Cable Television Cooperative (NCTC) to avail itself of the pro-competitive program access rules.

The theme of this year's summit - Our Time Is NOW! - underscored the important legislative and regulatory goals ACA and its Members are pursuing on Capitol Hill and at the FCC.

The ACA Summit took place April 1-3 at the Grand Hyatt, 1000 H Street NW, Washington, D.C. 

To see photos and obtain other information, please visit the ACA Summit 2014 website by clicking here:  ACA Summit.

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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