ACAction Brief - your connection to news and initiatives
ACA Public Issue – August 1, 2012 

 Key Developments  

At Senate Hearing, ACA Chairwoman Abdoulah Calls For Updated Cable Law

American Cable Association Chairwoman Colleen Abdoulah, testifying on July 24 before the Senate Commerce Committee, called on Congress to modernize the Cable Act of 1992 in response to skyrocketing pay-TV bills, a spike in TV signal blackouts, and chronic anti-competitive business practices by broadcasters set against a backdrop of unparalleled media consolidation and rapid technological change.

Abdoulah, Chairwoman and CEO of WOW! Internet, Cable and Phone, argued that because current market conditions in no way reflect the assumptions of the period when the Cable Act of 1992 was passed, Congress needed to draft new rules of the road to address the impact of new technology and the well-documented harms inflicted on consumers by broadcasters and others that can exploit their market power and regulatory advantages with impunity.

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ACA Urges FCC To Close Major Program Access Loophole

The American Cable Association urged the Federal Communications Commission to close a major loophole in the program access rules to combat unfair pricing tactics by vertically integrated cable programmers.

"The FCC's program access rules - crafted to nurture competition among Multichannel Video Programming Distributors (MVPDs) - need to ensure cable networks affiliated with cable operators cannot discriminate against unaffiliated MVPDs," ACA President and CEO Matthew M. Polka said. "The FCC can best accomplish this by closing the uniform price increases loophole."

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ACA: FCC Broadband Subsidies Should Account For Existing Plant, Maximize Deployment

The American Cable Association supports an allocation of federal broadband subsidies through the new Connect America Fund (CAF) that makes the most efficient use of billions of taxpayer dollars earmarked for ensuring broadband Internet access is both universal and affordable and accelerates the rollout of quality service to the greatest number of unserved and other high-cost locations.

"In determining how to allocate billions of dollars in subsidies to price cap phone carriers to offer broadband to millions of unserved and high-cost locations, the Federal Communications Commission should adopt a cost model that efficiently distributes support so that government money is used to subsidize broadband to the maximum number of homes at the least cost. A brownfield model achieves this objective, reflecting what the price cap carriers will actually build and leveraging use of their existing facilities," ACA President and CEO Matthew M. Polka said.

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ACA's Polka Urges Members To Stay Engaged As Cable Act Overhaul Looms

American Cable Association President and CEO Matthew M. Polka said in a July 23 speech that the independent cable community needed to train its focus on Capitol Hill as lawmakers begin a likely two-year effort to overhaul key provisions of the 1992 Cable Act -- including retransmission consent and program access - to ensure bedrock communications law reflects current market conditions instead of a virtually unrecognizable pre-Internet media landscape.

"We have a real opportunity ahead for positive policy outcomes that we've sought for twenty years," Polka said. "It's vital that we continue to educate policymakers that ACA Members are based in their local communities, that they want fair rules for their customers, and that they are building the most advanced broadband networks that connect hometown America to the rest of the globe."

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ACA Vice Chairman Calls For Sustained Grassroots Action From ACA Members

American Cable Association Vice Chairman Robert Gessner called on ACA Members to stay engaged with their lawmakers on Capitol Hill and to continue with their generous support of the trade group to demonstrate a strong grassroots commitment by the independent cable community for major reform of outdated communications laws and regulations.

"Our success is the result of 20 years of consistent commitment by our Members, Board, staff and counsel to do the rights things for you, our members, and your customers. We do this every day. Our patient and persistent effort to become a credible source of information in Washington has placed us in a position to fully participate in 2013," Gessner said on July 23.

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Abdoulah, Gessner Elected To Lead ACA For Next Two Years

Colleen Abdoulah, Chairwoman & CEO of WOW! Internet, Cable and Phone, was elected Chairwoman of the American Cable Association, and Robert Gessner, President of Massillon Cable TV, was elected ACA Vice Chairman, each for two-year terms by a vote of the ACA Membership announced on July 23.

"This is a critical time for the independent cable community” Abdoulah said. "I'm proud to lead ACA's public policy agenda as we move forward with plans to educate policymakers on the important role we play in the communications market and the urgent need for new policies designed to meet the diverse interests of today's consumer."

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ACA Announces Winners Of Prestigious Industry Awards At Independent Show

The American Cable Association announced on July 23 this year's winners of the trade group's most prestigious awards, which honor partnership, selfless dedication and vital support designed to ensure that the independent cable community remains hometown America's indispensable link to world-class voice, video and broadband communications services.

"ACA is a thriving enterprise in so many important ways because it can rely on the tireless service rendered by ACA Members who want to see locally based cable operators flourish in the competitive public policy arena," ACA President and CEO Matthew M. Polka said. "ACA's highest awards go to those special individuals and companies that have stood out in terms of their effort to provide ACA with the resources needed to prevail on the issues, and I salute each of them on receiving these richly deserved accolades."

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Wave Broadband Named Independent Operator Of The Year By CableFAX

Courtesy of CableFAX
CableFAX honored ACA Member Wave Broadband with its Independent Operator of the Year Award, hailing the company’s commitment to customer service and to building a truly team dynamic between management and employees located in the field and in customer service centers.

CableFAX Executive Editor Mike Grebb saluted Wave for 40% business service growth built over the years through savvy financing and smart acquisitions, all while scuffling with competitors several times larger.

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  News Headlines

For more ACA News visit the Newsroom 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 850 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 7.4 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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