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Protections For Consumers And Competition Missing From FCC Chairman’s AT&T-DirecTV Approval Plan

PITTSBURGH, July 22, 2015 - American Cable Association President and CEO Matthew M. Polka issued the following statement regarding reports that FCC Chairman Wheeler is recommending approval of the AT&T-DirecTV transaction without conditions related to regional sports networks (RSN):

"ACA believes that FCC approval of the AT&T-DirecTV merger along the lines proposed by FCC Chairman Wheeler in an order circulated last night would lack key consumer protections and result in all pay-TV subscribers paying higher prices for their television service in major markets (Pittsburgh, Denver, Seattle, and Houston),  It's disappointing that the Chairman does not seek to protect the competitive pay-TV market from the increased incentive of the combined company to charge its pay-TV rivals higher prices for the four Root Sports regional sports networks that AT&T and DirecTV will control post-merger.

"By charging higher prices for its RSNs to its pay-TV rivals, the new AT&T-DirecTV will not only drive up its rivals' customers' subscription fees, but it will reduce their funds available for deploying high performance broadband services in new areas.  Now is the time for the other four Commissioners to become actively involved in reviewing the proposed merger order, and we hope they will insist that conditions are adopted to mitigate these concerns as part of any order approving the transaction."

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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