PITTSBURGH, January 21, 2015 - American Cable Association President and CEO Matthew M. Polka issued the following statement regarding President Obama's call for expanded governmental involvement in, and regulation of, the Internet:
"Over the past two decades, the cable industry at great risk has invested hundreds of billions of dollars to build fiber-rich broadband networks across America. ACA's independent providers have played a key role in those deployments in smaller communities and rural areas. Assistant Secretary of Commerce Lawrence E. Strickling recently highlighted the achievements of many ACA member companies by noting that ‘private investment is responsible for the lion's share' of our Nation's advancement towards delivering ‘fast, affordable broadband' to all Americans.
"It is for that reason that ACA is so concerned about the path the President is going down in calling for new, unwarranted regulation and other measures. Instead of praising cable and broadband companies for their immeasurable contributions to the unprecedented growth of America's digital economy, the President has pushed for more government control over the Internet by painting an unflattering picture of the U.S. broadband market that completely differs from reality. Through his actions, the President is putting at risk the billions of dollars that ACA member companies have invested to expand their networks into cities and towns across the country.
"We stand at a critical point today where broadband providers are needed to continue to step up and invest in new infrastructure to drive job growth and expand our economy. At this time, the last thing we need to do is subject broadband providers to 1930s-era common carrier regulation. There simply is no case that ACA's smaller broadband providers have caused any harm to justify increased regulation or unfair government competition. The Title II approach being pushed by the President creates an unbalanced playing field by regulating only ISPs and completely ignoring Silicon Valley companies and media giants that have time and time again proven to be the real gatekeepers of the Internet.
"ACA submits government has a proper role to play - one where government officials at all levels work in tandem with broadband providers to facilitate accelerated deployments. For instance, government should lower barriers by reducing high fees that are often paid to access rights-of-way and attach to utility poles. Moreover, government should step in to prevent video content providers from leveraging their power to extract unreasonable terms and conditions from triple play providers. And, in the case of communities, they should work with the private sector to encourage and facilitate rapid deployment.
"After government takes these productive steps, ACA is certain its independent members will do their part to accelerate investments in upgraded and expanded broadband networks, especially in rural areas and smaller communities that many also call home."
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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