ACAction Brief - your connection to news and initiatives
Public Issue – February 3, 2010 







  Key Developments

WOW! CEO Colleen Abdoulah To Testify Before Congress Twice On Feb. 4

Colleen Abdoulah  
American Cable Association board member Colleen Abdoulah, president and CEO of WOW! Internet, Cable & Phone, is to testify Feb. 4 before two congressional committees to express the concerns of small cable operators about the proposed merger between Comcast Corp. and NBC Universal announced on Dec. 3, 2009.

At 9:30 a.m. EST, Ms. Abdoulah is scheduled to testify before the House Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet. The hearing will be webcast live at www.energycommerce.house.gov.

At 2:30 p.m. EST, Ms. Abdoulah is slated to appear before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights. The hearing will be webcast live at http://judiciary.senate.gov/hearings/hearing.cfm?id=4347

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FCC Adopts Rules Designed To Promote Access To Regional Sports Networks

 
The Federal Communications Commission recently voted to expand the scope of its program access rules, concerned that competitors to established cable operators lack the ability to compete on equal terms because they have been denied access to certain "must have" programming, such as regional sports networks, owned or controlled by cable incumbents.

The FCC voted 4-1 to establish rules and procedures that will make it very likely that terrestrially delivered networks owned by cable operators will no longer enjoy an exemption under the program access regime created by Congress in the 1992 Cable Act. FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell, a Republican, opposed the changes, arguing that the FCC lacked the authority to close the so-called "terrestrial loophole." In a news release, the FCC said the rules would promote competition, foster innovation and empower consumers.

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Broadband Stimulus Update

 
ACA members should be aware that the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) have issued new regulations and guidelines in connection with the second and final round of funding for their $7.2 billion broadband stimulus program. The deadline for submitting applications to NTIA and RUS is March 15, 2010 at 5:00 p.m. EST. For further information, please click here.

The agencies made significant changes to the programs for this second round of funding. While we briefly highlight some of the most sweeping changes from Round One below, we stress that each NOFA details extensive eligibility requirements, application requirements, and evaluation criteria. If your company is thinking about applying for broadband stimulus funds, your company should begin preparing applications as soon as possible.

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  Member Story


Buford Media Group - Tyler, TX

Ben Hooks

Small cable operators face severe obstacles in the marketplace, including high prices for cable programming and permission to carry local TV signals. The more money that goes out the door to cover these expenses, the less capital there is to invest in broadband, considered by many to be the technology that makes for a better tomorrow in rural America.

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  Industry Affairs

ACA's 17th Annual Summit

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  News Headlines
  • Cablevision Asks Supreme Court to Review Constitutionality of Must-Carry (Broadcasting & Cable, 01/28)
    As promised, Cablevision has asked the Supreme Court to review the constitutionality of the must-carry rules, which require cable operators to carry local broadcast stations.
  • Groups Blast Comcast-NBCU Public Interest Commitments (Television Broadcast, 01/28)
    WASHINGTON: We’ll be watching closely. That’s the message from small cable operators and a public interest group regarding today’s news that Comcast and General Electric filed paperwork to transfer a majority stake of NBC Universal to the cable company. The American Cable Association and Public Knowledge were reacting to what Comcast pledged to do in the event of regulator approval.
  • Stuart Benjamin: FCC Isn't Forcing Broadcasters Off Spectrum (Broadcasting & Cable, 01/28)
    "We are not going to force any broadcasters off the air," said Duke Law Professor Stuart Benjamin Thursday (Jan. 28).
  • Netflix To FCC: Scary Loophole In Net Neutrality Rules (Ars Technica, 01/28)
    Netflix, the company that mails out DVDs and streams movies to millions of home theater potatoes, made the rounds to the Federal Communications Commission on Friday. The company's general counsel told staffers and Commissioners that the movie rental distributor supports the agency's proposed Internet nondiscrimination rules. But they also include a potentially nasty loophole, Netflix warned—the "managed services" category that the Commission created in its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking back in October.
  • Powerful Names, New Voices At The FCC (The Hill, 01/27)
    Mignon Clyburn and Meredith Attwell Baker share more than the distinction of being the only women on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) . They have powerful last names familiar to Washington insiders.
  • House, Senate Agreement On Satellite Bill Language (Broadcasting & Cable, 01/27)
    There is House and Senate agreement about language on a satellite reauthorization bill, according to House Communications & Internet Chairman Rick Boucher (D-Va.).
  • USDA Awarding $310 Million for Broadband Projects (ABC News Technology, 01/25)
    The Agriculture Department is handing out nearly $310 million in stimulus money to bring high-speed Internet connections to 14 rural communities around the country.
  • NAB's Smith Expects Lots Of Conditions On Comcast/NBCU Deal (Multichannel News, 01/23)
    National Association of Broadcasters president Gordon Smith said Friday he expects the Obama administration will put "lots of caveats and conditions" on the Comcast/NBCU deal, but adds his own caveat that that is only supposition.
  • The FCC's Genachowski: On a Broadband Crusade (Business Week, 01/21)
    The commissioner, a Friend of Obama, is charged with bringing the U.S. Internet, a longtime laggard, up to speed
  • FCC To Force Cable Operators To Share Sports Channels (Wall Street Journal, 01/20)
    The cable industry could face more competition from phone and satellite rivals after federal regulators voted to close a loophole giving operators such as Comcast Corp. exclusive rights to certain sports channels.
  • Amazon To FCC: Prioritizing Internet Traffic Is OK (The Hill, 01/19)
    Amazon wants the FCC to let Internet service providers speed up some traffic to consumers as long as other content is not harmed in the process.
  • GAO Report Urges FCC Changes (National Journal, 01/19)
    A new report released Tuesday from the Government Accountability Office recommends changes in how the FCC tackles issues that come before the agency to better reflect the converging nature of today's communications landscape.
  • Leibowitz Gives Strong Support to FCC's Net Neutrality Proposals (Broadcasting & Cable, 01/19)
    The FCC's network neutrality proposals got a strong shout-out from Federal Trade Commission Chairman Jon Leibowitz, who said that transparency and the open Internet are "critical" to consumer-friendly broadband service.

For more news, visit the Headlines Page on the ACA website.

  About ACA




ACA_new.jpg
Small markets and rural areas across the country are receiving video, high-speed broadband, and phone services from nearly 900 small and medium-sized independent operators represented by the American Cable Association (ACA).

ACA's membership comprises cable, phone, and fiber-to-the-home operators and municipalities, who deliver these affordable basic and advanced services, such as high-definition television, next generation Internet access, and digital phone, to more than 7 million households and businesses, some of whom have no other means of receiving these vital services.

These communications services are considered by most to be essential for individuals, companies, and other entities, like schools and hospitals, and are crucial to America's economic prosperity, particularly in smaller markets and rural areas.

The ACA works to ensure its members are treated fairly in the marketplace and in Washington, so that small and medium-sized independent operators may continue to thrive and deliver affordable video, broadband, and phone services to Main Street America. Through active participation in the legislative and regulatory process, ACA and its members advocate for the interests of their customers, their companies, and their communities to help ensure the continued viability of their hometown's way of life.

For more information, visit www.americancable.org, or contact:

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