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ACA Pleased Court Affirmed FCC’s Finding That Cable Operators Are Subject To Effective Competition Nationally

PITTSBURGH, July 7, 2017 -  American Cable Association President and CEO Matthew M. Polka issued the following statement regarding today's ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit that affirmed the Federal Communications Commission's order finding that cable operators are subject to effective competition nationally:

"ACA is pleased with the Court's decision affirming the FCC's 2015 Order that established a presumption that cable operators now face ‘effective competition' nationally.  In today's market, consumers have at least three choices for traditional pay-television service and can elect to subscribe to many online video services, like Netflix and Hulu.  There is no longer any good reason that cable operators should remain subject to burdensome rate regulation. ACA is also pleased to see that broadcasters' attempts to maintain unnecessary and unwarranted regulatory handcuffs on cable operators have been thwarted.

"By way of background: Congress regulated cable rates in the 1992 Cable Act. In the Telecommunications Act of 1996, Congress lifted rate caps on cable's expanded basic tier - typically, the channel home of CNN, Fox News, and ESPN - effective on March 31, 1999. But the 1996 law did not remove rate caps on the basic tier, where local TV station signals typically reside.

"To gain basic tier deregulation, Congress still required cable operators to make a showing to the FCC that their pay-TV competitors combined served 15% of the subscribers in a franchise area. That was an expensive process for smaller pay-TV providers, especially when the point was to demonstrate the well-established fact that Dish and DirecTV had become formidable competitors across the nation. Given that situation, the FCC two years ago determined that every cable operator should be presumed subject to effective competition and wouldn't have to prove 15% competitor penetration."

About the American Cable Association: Based in Pittsburgh, the American Cable Association is a trade organization representing nearly 750 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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