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ACA Asks Court To Reject FCC’s Classification Of Broadband ISPs As Title II Providers

PITTSBURGH, April 14, 2015 - American Cable Association President and CEO Matthew M. Polka issued the following statement regarding ACA's decision to file a petition for review of the Federal Communications Commission's Feb. 26 decision to reclassify Broadband ISPs as Title II telecommunications service providers:

"Although the ACA and its small and medium-sized cable operator members supported the adoption of rules to protect the openness of the Internet, ACA is challenging the FCC's ‘Open Internet Order' today because the FCC's specific means of achieving this common goal -- reclassifying broadband Internet providers as common carriers -- are legally unsupportable and a step backward. 

"For decades, cable operators have been regulated under the 1984 Cable Communications Act (Title VI) in their provision of cable service and as Title I information service providers in their provision of broadband Internet service. In ACA's view, this approach created the proper balance of ensuring consumers have open access to the Internet while giving providers the proper incentives to bringing high-performance broadband services to nearly every corner of the country.  Just look at the results:  Under the existing framework, ACA members over the past decade observed the principles of the FCC's 2005 Internet Policy Statement while at the same time invested more than $10 billion in building and upgrading their networks to offer customers higher-quality video and better Internet service.  Unfortunately, that balance will be lost under the FCC's new rules.

"The Open Internet Order needlessly saddles ACA's members -- half of which have 1,000 customers or fewer -- with the extraordinary burden of complying with a complicated new regulatory regime.  Most ACA members have never before been subject to Title II regulation for any of their services and have little, if any, capability to understand, let alone address, this complexity.  But now for the first time they will have to grapple with the application of the statute's formidable list of prohibitions, procedures, and other requirements to broadband Internet service.  They will have to divert untold time, capital and resources from upgrading their networks and service to ensuring legal compliance with rules that address hypothetical concerns foreign to their experience and well beyond their ability or desire to implement.  ACA members, moreover, will have to deal with the myriad unforeseen consequences of the FCC's upheaval of the status quo.  Reclassification ushers in a new era of regulatory uncertainty that adversely affects the ability of ACA members to invest in the future of broadband Internet for all Americans.

"The FCC ostensibly says it addresses the concerns of small Internet service providers.  But, in reality, it has given them no material relief.  The agency has failed to serve smaller operators, their subscribers and the public interest at large.  If the FCC will not stand up for them, then ACA will.  That is why we have little choice but to appeal the FCC's decision."

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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