For Immediate Release
Contact: Ted Hearn
PITTSBURGH, September 28, 2018 – In passing a new spending bill, Congress expressed a preference for the Federal Communications Commission to ensure that multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs), including cable operators, will continue to receive priority access to funds that reimburse MVPD costs incurred by the relocation of TV stations that have been assigned new channels, according to the American Cable Association.
ACA stressed that point in a filing Wednesday as the FCC considers in a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to what extent $400 million newly appropriated for 2019 in the Reimbursement Expansion Act (REA) may be allocated to entities other than MVPDs, full-power TV stations, and Class A stations.
“The FCC would closely track Congressional intent in the REA by giving MVPDs and full power and Class A stations priority access to 2019 funds to ensure that they are reimbursed for reasonable costs incurred in the repacking process. Congress has consistently prioritized reimbursement of MVPDs and full power and Class A stations over all others,” ACA President and CEO Matthew M. Polka said.
ACA explained that so far only 136 small and mid-sized MVPDs have filed for reimbursement under the original TV Broadcast Reimbursement Fund but hundreds more are expected to seek reimbursement over the next two years as more than 1,000 broadcast stations complete their transitions and move to new channels.
ACA noted that it is entirely plausible that the full $400 million appropriated for 2019 will be needed in order to make MVPDs and other Congressionally designated priority recipients completely whole (and even that may not be entirely sufficient). It would be unfair, therefore, to permit others – including LPTV, TV translator, and FM stations — to access the funds appropriated for 2019 until all entities for whom the reimbursement fund was originally created are fully satisfied.
About the American Cable Association: Based in Pittsburgh, the American Cable Association is a trade organization representing more than 700 smaller and medium-sized, independent companies that provide broadband, phone and video services to nearly 8 million customers 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/