Top Ten Key Developments of 2008 - #2

ACA Filing Encourages FCC to Examine Programmers and Broadcasters Practice of Tying and Bundling

January 10, 2008

On Thursday, January 3, ACA urged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to adopt changes to existing regulations to provide independent operators with more flexibility to provide consumers with choices and better value. ACA's filing comes in response to the FCC's request for comments in its rulemaking on the retransmission consent and program access rules.

Top Ten Key Developments of 2008 - #1

FCC Adopts Digital Must Carry Exemption for Small Cable Operators

August 26, 2008

On August 21, the FCC adopted an Order providing an exemption for small cable systems from the onerous digital must carry requirements after the digital transition set for February 17, 2009. This action comes after more than a year-long campaign by the ACA, which included numerous meetings and filings with the FCC and Congress.

Ask ACA

Retrans Disputes and Channel Change Notices

DEAR ACA: My retransmission consent agreements expire on December 31, 2008, and I'm still negotiating with my broadcasters, but I may have to drop stations. Don't I have to give my customer 30-days notice before I can drop any signals? -- Robert Barnes, Valley Cable TV

Alabama Broadband, LLC (Bessemer, AL)

Unreasonable pole attachment rates and demands may be among the single biggest threat to our business. As a small operator dependent on pole attachments to serve my customers, the electric cooperatives take advantage of their market power by forcing me to comply with their onerous pole attachment rules. Their demands are so outrageous that we won't deploy service to some households in our communities, even though we'd like to expand our service area. Worse yet, some coops contract out the management of their pole attachments to firms that charge even higher rates, and provide even less service.

~Tom Early, Alabama Broadband, LLC

Reveille Broadband (Lexington, Texas)

To remain competitive, we had to upgrade some of our small, rural systems and shut down others. It was a matter of survival because we were competing head-to-head against DISH and DIRECTV, and knew Verizon was coming soon.

-Jeff Sullivan Reveille Broadband

Frankfort Plant Board (Frankfort, KY)

Frankfort Plant Board ("FPB") Cable doesn't have the same retransmission consent problems as many small operators because we can carry broadcast stations from two different markets. Accordingly, we believe that a solution to the retransmission consent problem may be to eliminate the network non-duplication ("non-dup") rules that prevent operators from carrying stations in neighboring markets.

Join the Small Cable Operators Supporting the DTV Quiet Period Today!

We are asking all ACA members to add their company's support to the below letter to FCC Chairman Martin requesting immediate implementation of a quiet period to ban broadcasters from pulling over-the-air stations from the channel lineups of cable and satellite customers during the DTV transition.

Take a moment to add your company's support for the quiet period and sign the letter today!

CableCo dba TVision (Colorado Springs, CO)

With the upcoming round of retransmission consent negotiations, we know that we'll be forced to pay fees to broadcasters for the first time, and unfortunately our customers will have to foot the bill. As a small cable operator, programming is our already largest expense by far, and we simply cannot absorb any more increases in our carriage fees.

~David Shipley, Business Manager

BEVCOMM (Blue Earth, MN)

In my markets, small cable operators are paying more than double the amount of money in retransmission consent fees than some of the largest operators for the same signals.  Until 2005 this was not an issue, but now the broadcasters are demanding ever exorbitant prices to carry their stations.  I've never been forced to raise customer rates because of broadcast carriage fee increases, but now I have a station seeking a 567 percent increase, and I don't see how I can avoid hiking them for my customers, or dropping these stations that differentiate us from our competition, thereby denying us the only slight competitive advantage we have.

~Jim Beattie - Manager

Blue Mount Television Cable Company (Mount Vernon, OR)

The amount of money we pay in retransmission consent fees just doubled, and they keep increasing. But that's only one of a few problems facing Blue Mountain Television Cable Company as a small cable operator. The bottom line is that if our costs continue to rise, we may have to shut down!

- Jack McKenna, Owner

Cable Story: Sunrise Communications (Onaway, MI)

hometownstory

"Our small size would make it difficult to handle a dual carriage obligation. I don't know how an operator in our situation affords the headend equipment and other costs." 

Bob Goodenow, Manager

» Read More
» Tell your story!

Member Profile: Trust Communications (Jackson, MS)

hometownstory"Year after year, the broadcasters and programmers put pressure on our company to add their affiliated networks to my basic programming package resulting in a more bloated, costly tier with channels that my customers neither want nor can afford.  Most of our Communication's customers in rural communities are satisfied receiving only 65 channels as basic, especially those in low income areas - not everyone wants to pay for 125 channels."

Steven Inzinna, President

» Read More
» Tell your story!

 

CableCo dba TVision (Colorado Springs, CO)

hometownstory

With the upcoming round of retransmission consent negotiations, we know that we'll be forced to pay fees to broadcasters for the first time, and unfortunately our customers will have to foot the bill. As a small cable operator, programming is our already largest expense by far, and we simply cannot absorb any more increases in our carriage fees.

~David Shipley, Business Manager

Independent cable operators face unique challenges that require special consideration by the FCC in terms of how it deals with the digital television transition to ensure requirements do not impact the consumers or communities served - specifically, the digital must-carry requirements. Read More

 

» Key Developments
» Press Releases
» Headlines
» Filings, Testimonies, and Letters
» Resources

In order for small cable operators to provide their customers with popular programming, large programmers often make them provide undesired programming on their most widely subscribed to tiers. Consumers pay the price for this abusive practice with higher cable rates and programming that is not aligned with their interests.  Read More

 

» Key Developments
» Press Releases
» Headlines
» Filings, Testimonies, and Letters
» Resources

When broadcasters abuse their market power to demand exorbitant fees from cable operators who want to offer their signals, consumers always pay the price. Broadcasters often discriminate against small and medium-sized cable operators, extracting retransmission consent fees at substantially higher per-subscriber rates than charged larger providers. Read More

 

» Key Developments
» Press Releases
» Headlines
» Filings, Testimonies, and Letters
» Write to Congress
» Write a Letter to the Editor
» Resources

Connect Hometown America
Join the Campaign

Enter your email address and zip code below to begin the process of creating an account on the ACA website.


Government Affairs

Industry Affairs