ACAction Brief - your connection to news and initiatives
Public Issue – June 09, 2010 

  Key Developments

ACA Commends Sen. Kohl On Comcast-NBCU Concerns

The American Cable Association commended Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.) for urging the Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission to give close scrutiny to Comcast Corp.'s planned acquisition of General Electric Co.'s NBC Universal, saying the deal raises anticompetitive concerns that warrant strict conditions, including at least one asset sale.

"ACA believes that the Comcast-NBCU merger would harm competition and consumers without strong and enforceable conditions. ACA applauds Sen. Kohl for suggesting that the FCC impose conditions on the transaction that would ensure that all pay-TV providers have access to Comcast-NBCU programming on reasonable and nondiscriminatory terms," American Cable Association President and CEO Matthew M. Polka said.

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ACA Stresses Need For Government Probe Of Local TV Price Fixing

With evidence of market failure continuing to pile up, the American Cable Association called on the Federal Communications Commission to probe ACA members’ allegations that operational control of two or more Big Four (ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX) stations is driving up the price of retransmission consent and harming consumers forced to pay higher bills as a result of discriminatory conduct by broadcasters with excessive economic power.

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  News Headlines
  • Lawmakers Call For Tough Reveiw Of Comcast Deal (Philadelphia Business Today, 06/06)
    U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, a Democrat from Los Angeles , has emerged as a deep skeptic of Comcast Corp.'s proposed $30 billion deal for NBC Universal Inc., and about 70 like-minded lawmakers have joined her in calling for more public hearings on the merger.
  • Clyburn Defends Title II Reclassification (Broadcasting & Cable, 06/03)
    Democratic FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn delivered a ringing defense of FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski's proposal to reclassify broadband under Title II. Given fellow Democrat Michael Copps' longstanding support of Title II classification, the chairman would seem to have solid support for proceeding, even in the face of some strong push-back from Congress.
  • Why The FCC Should Stay Out of Data Plan Pricing (CNET News, 06/03)
    A big question these days for smartphone users is whether telecommunications providers will continue to offer "all you can eat" data plans or switch to charging by the megabyte. The more important issue--at least from the perspective of the public-policy community--is whether the Federal Communications Commission will have a say in the matter. And recent, seemingly contradictory initiatives by the regulators provide good reasons to believe that the FCC should get out of the way.
  • Genachowski Affirms Focus On Gateway Device, Spectrum Allocation (Multichannel News, 06/03)
    FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, continuing his campaign for a universal gateway device as his agency begins its examination of the topic, thinks that the "pay folks have a reasonable concern about doing this in a way that preserves the integrity of the pay stream."
  • FCC's Genachowski: Lobbyists At Fault For Broadband Limbo (The Wrap, 06/02)
    Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski warned that the country was late and at risk of falling further behind in other countries in seizing on the opportunities of broadband.
  • Title II: The Legal Fallout (CED, 06/02)
    The wireless industry hasn’t exactly been thrilled with the FCC’s proposal to reclassify broadband Internet under Title II of the Communications Act. In fact, industry leaders have said it will do everything from endanger networks to threaten the financial footing of the wireless industry.
  • National Broadband Plan Will Hurt Rural America, 40 House Members Say (The Hill, 06/01)
    The Federal Communications Commissions’ decade-long blueprint for increasing broadband Internet access could widen the digital divide between rural and metropolitan areas, according to a bipartisan group of 40 House members who sent a letter to agency Chairman Julius Genachowski on Friday.
  • Ex-Reps. To Aid Comcast Takeover Bid (Politico, 05/26)
    Comcast Corp. has been snapping up ex-government officials to help win approval of its proposed takeover of NBC Universal Inc., including former congressmen and congressional staff members, ex-government antitrust lawyers and former aides to the Federal Communications Commission’s most impassioned critics of media mergers.
  • Google Tries Its Hand At Influence In Washington (The Washington Post, 05/26)
    When someone as influential as Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV requests your presence at a hearing, Washington insiders know it's more of a summons than an invitation.
  • FCC Is Digging Deep As It Reviews Comcast-NBC Universal Deal (Los Angeles Times, 05/25)
    Looks like the legal teams at Comcast Corp. and General Electric Co.'s NBC Universal are going to be working this holiday weekend.

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

  About ACA

Across this vast country, small and rural markets participate in the digital revolution by receiving video, broadband, and phone services from nearly 900 small and medium-sized independent operators represented by the American Cable Association (ACA).

ACA’s members -- cable, phone, and fiber-to-the-home operators and municipalities -- deliver affordable basic and advanced services to about 7 million households and businesses. ACA members operate in every state, offering high-definition television, next generation Internet access, and digital phone service.

Access to advanced communications is not a luxury but a critical necessity for consumers and companies, schools and hospitals. America’s economic prosperity in smaller markets and rural areas depends on the growth and success of ACA members, who believe a connected nation, is a united nation.

The ACA asks lawmakers and regulators to ensure fair treatment so that small and medium-sized independent operators may continue to supply affordable video, broadband, and phone services to Main Street America. Through active participation in the policymaking process, ACA members and leaders advocate for the interests of their customers, their companies, and their communities to help ensure the continued viability of their way of life in hometown America.

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