In 2008, the American Cable Association proudly celebrated 15 years of representing independent cable operators throughout America. Since 1993, the ACA has represented small- and medium-sized cable operators before the U.S. Congress, Federal Communications Commission and other federal agencies. In the years before ACA was formed, small and often rural community cable providers had little support and stood alone without a unified voice in their legislative, regulatory and business battles.
After 15 years, the ACA now represents more than 1,000 independent cable operators serving more than 7 million subscribers in mostly rural markets across the U.S. With independent cable systems operating in an environment that continues to favor big over small, ACA's mission is as clear and its resolve as strong as ever. In Washington, D.C., the association speaks out to ensure regulatory and legislative decisions fairly meet the interests of its members and their ability to provide advanced services to customers in hometown America.
Here are just a few of ACA's many milestones from the past 15 years:
American Cable Association (ACA), first known as the Small Cable Business Association, is founded as 150 independent cable operators gathered in Kansas City to fight against government re-regulation of cable in the 1992 Cable Act.
- ACA wins rate de-regulation of independent cable in the 1996 Telecommunications Act, and de-regulation started in 1994 at the FCC with its small system order.
- Organization changed its name from the Small Cable Business Association to the American Cable Association to reflect independent operators' presence and impact across America.
- ACA and the NCTC form a strategic membership alliance to give greater voice to independent cable operators' concerns in Washington, D.C., and throughout the cable industry.
- ACA's Executive Committee christens the Cable Center in Denver and holds the first official meeting in the new structure, where ACA commissioned the ACA Conference Room to celebrate the history and accomplishments of independent cable operators.
- After intense lobbying by ACA, the government imposes retransmission consent and regional sports network conditions on the DirectTV and News Corp. merger.
- Building upon the efforts launched in January 2005, ACA educates policymakers on the negative repercussions of retransmission consent practices. In a Petition for Rulemaking filed with the FCC, ACA argues for competition in the retrans marketplace and urges the FCC to allow operators to seek lower-cost alternatives outside of the local market when a station demands consideration for carriage. More than 70 companies, national organizations and independent programmers from across the country supported ACA on this matter. In addition, ACA cited the lopsided pricing platforms of DBS versus cable and urged the FCC to establish rate parity to combat the burdens that high regulatory fees place on independent operators. ACA's activity garnered editorial coverage throughout the nation, yielding an unprecedented reach with more than 2.2 million impressions.
ACA Chairman Jim Gleason was invited to set the record straight on the CNBC Show
"Squawk Box" on October 5 program to dispute economist John Rutledge's statement that there isn't broadband service in rural areas. By sharing his side of the story, Gleason helped raise public awareness of ACA's mission and of the issues affecting independent cable operators and the consumers they serve.
NCTC and ACA launch the first "Independent Show" in Chicago, bringing with it "Winds of Change" by highlighting throughout the cable industry the great strides and achievements of independent cable.
- After public hearings in which ACA participated, Pennsylvania lawmakers drop their support of legislation that would have allowed Verizon Communications to bypass the local franchise system and instead obtain a one-sided statewide franchise for cable television service.
ACA PAC surpasses $50,000 in Contributions as awareness of ACA's Political Action Committee (PAC) increase. As a result, ACA PAC was able to make congressional campaign contributions totaling $35,750 -- the most in the ACA PAC history!
- On April 18, ACA honored Norm Mills, President of Colstrip Cable TV, Inc., for his extensive service to the organization and bestowed upon him the title of Emeritus Board Member. Mills, who joined the cable industry in 1980, was a founding ACA member and has served on ACA's board of directors since its inception in 1993.