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ACA Pleased As Local Choice Debate Turns Serious

Group Applauds Sens. Rockefeller And Thune For Initiating Senate Discussion

PITTSBURGH, September 10, 2014 - American Cable Association President and CEO Matthew M. Polka issued the following statement regarding modifications to the Rockefeller-Thune Satellite Television Access and Viewer Rights Act (STAVRA):

"ACA wholeheartedly thanks Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) and Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) for starting the Senate debate on how best to end TV station-sponsored blackouts and give consumers choice through their Local Choice proposal, which so obviously would benefit every pay-TV customer in the country. ACA agrees that pay-TV customers deserve to be free of broadcaster-initiated blackouts and to decide on their own whether they want to pay for 'free TV' channels made available by their multichannel video programming distributor (MVPD).

"The Rockefeller-Thune Satellite Television Access and Viewer Rights Act (STAVRA) will help consumers in many ways as it takes important steps to reform the broken retransmission consent system. It includes a ban on the ability of separately owned local TV stations to engage in retransmission consent bargaining collusion in their negotiations with MVPDs. It also directs the FCC to conduct a rulemaking to consider specific revisions to its good-faith bargain rules, including whether online blocking of content is a violation. We are working to ensure that these provisions and others will remain in STAVRA after next week's bill markup in the Senate Commerce Committee.

"Make no mistake about it: Local Choice is a powerful, bipartisan idea rooted in free-market principles that would create a level playing field and discipline the market in ways that benefit the public.  This is a concept whose time will come.  In the next Congress, ACA stands ready to work with lawmakers on enacting this important reform so necessary to protect consumers from TV station-initiated blackouts on less than a moment's notice.  One thing is for sure: ACA will be there every step of the way until real ‘TV freedom'is the law of the land."

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 nearly 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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