ACAction Brief - your connection to news and initiatives
Public Issue – September 29, 2010 

 Key Developments  

ACA Officials Meet With FCC Staff On Comcast-NBCU Merger

The American Cable Association continued to press for meaningful conditions on the Comcast-NBCU merger during recent meetings with senior Federal Communications Commission officials. The FCC and the Department of Justice are reviewing the $30 billion deal and are expected to announce decisions by the end of this year or perhaps early next year.

On Sept. 20, top ACA officials met separately with Rosemary Harold, Legal Advisor to Commissioner Robert M. McDowell, and Joshua Cinelli, Legal Advisor to Commissioner Michael J. Copps, to explain ACA's proposed conditions and remedies first unveiled in an August filing. The FCC has five-voting members and three votes in support are needed to approve the merger.

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ACA Cautions FCC On Impact Of Reclassification On Small Access Providers

The American Cable Association is urging the Federal Communications Commission to recognize that classification of broadband Internet access as a common carrier service would not only represent an abrupt change in policy but also impose substantial regulatory burdens and costs, impairing ACA members from expanding their broadband offerings.

ACA's concerns stem from FCC proposals that would abandon a “light touch” regulatory approach toward broadband access providers in favor of policies that would regulate broadband as a telecommunications service under Title II of the Communication Act -- provisions that historically applied to traditional phone companies in response to their status starting many years ago as monopoly providers of an essential service.

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ACA Supports Creation Of New Fund At FCC To Drive Broadband Deployment In Unserved Areas

The American Cable Association told the Federal Communications Commission that the trade group supports the creation of a fund, like the FCC’s proposed Connect America Fund (“CAF”), to provide financial assistance to drive broadband service deeper into unserved communities, provided the fund is structured in a competitively neutral manner that promotes robust last-mile and middle-mile deployment.

ACA's support for a new broadband support mechanishm came in a Sept. 22 meeting between ACA representatives and six members of the FCC's Wireline Competition Bureau, including Deputy Bureau Chief Carol Mattey. On hand for ACA were Ross J. Lieberman, Vice President of Government Affairs, and ACA outside counsel Thomas Cohen with the Kelly, Drye & Warren law firm. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the CAF, and the terms and conditions under which the CAF would operate.

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  News Headlines
  • Comcast Spends Big In Pressing For Merger (The New York Times, 09/26)
    In Jeff Zucker’s announcement on Friday that he was stepping aside as the head of NBC Universal, Comcast’s purchase of the company was taken almost as a fait accompli.
  • Steve Burke Takes Reins Of NBC Universal (Variety, 09/26)
    Steve Burke has finally landed the job he has long sought: studio chief.
  • WFAA, Time Warner Reach Agreement (, 09/25)
    WFAA and Time Warner Cable Inc. have reached a tentative agreement that will allow the cable company to continue to carry the 12 television stations owned by Dallas-based Belo Corp ., including ABC affiliate WFAA-TV (Channel 8) in Dallas.
  • Moffett: "Scant" Evidence Of Over-The-Top Cord-Cutting (Broadcasting & Cable, 09/24)
    Wall Street has been hearing a lot from media execs in the past few weeks on the prospect of subs cutting the cord on cable in favor of over-the-top video, but Sanford Bernstein analyst Craig Moffett argues that "real-world evidence of cord-cutting remains scant."
  • FCC Order On Airwaves Is Victory For Tech Giants (The Washington Post, 09/24)
    The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday approved the use of unlicensed airwaves in what it hopes will be a new market for high-speed Internet connections for smartphones, tablets and computers.
  • Fox, Cablevision Prepare For Battle, Carriage Deal Expires Oct.15 (Multichannel News, 09/21)
    Fox Broadcasting hurled the first grenade in what could be yet another contentious carriage battle, this time with Cablevision Systems, relaunching its website over the weekend and running select ads warning customers if a deal isn't reached soon, they could lose access to Fox programming on Oct. 16.
  • Iger: Affiliates' Retrans Payments Will Grow, Disney Boss Says Stations Can Pay Up Or Else (Broadcasting & Cable, 09/21)
    ABC affiliates can expect to kick more of their retransmission consent spoils up to the network, as Walt Disney Company President/CEO Bob Iger told a room full of investors that the company seeks to grow its retrans pot at their expense.
  • TV Station Streamer Has Industry Seeing Red (Broadcasting & Cable, 09/21)
    The National Association of Broadcasters says that if the allegations against Seattle-based online video subscription service ivi Inc.--that it is retransmitting TV stations signals in Seattle and New York over the 'net without authorization--are true, it is illegal signal piracy.
  • Charter Joins Suddenlink In Breaking Out 'New' Fee For Retransmitting Broadcast Stations (Multichannel News, 09/20)
    Charter Communications wants its customers to know that as far as cable delivery is concerned, broadcast TV is fee, not free, TV.
  • Cablevision CEO: Higher Fees Could Lead To A La Carte Pricing (CED, 09/17)
    Speaking at an investor conference in California, Cablevision Chief Executive James Dolan said that if network programmers continue to push for higher retransmission fees, the cable industry could be forced into a la carte pricing.
  • FCC Seeking Public Input On Broadband For Small Businesses (The Hill, 09/17)
    The Federal Communications Commission is seeking comment from small-business owners and broadband providers to gain a better understanding of their need for high-speed Internet access.

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 7.6 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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