ACAction Brief - your connection to news and initiatives
Public Issue – March 23, 2011 

 Key Development  

ACA Seeks Retransmission Consent Condition On TV Sale In Topeka, Kansas

 
In an effort to stem media consolidation from forcing television viewers to pay outrageous retransmission consent fees, the American Cable Association is urging the Federal Communications Commission to condition or block the sale of the ABC affiliate in Topeka, Kansas, to a company with a track record of creating local market TV station duopolies for the purpose of gaining undue bargaining leverage over cable and satellite TV operators.

"If this very troubling transaction is allowed to go through unchanged, Topeka's pay television viewers will suffer irreparable economic harm either by paying higher subscription rates or losing total access to as many as three of Topeka's Big Four stations at the same time," ACA President and CEO Matthew M. Polka said.

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 Message From ACA President and CEO Matthew M. Polka  

Message From Matt Polka

 
For many years, the American Cable Association has warned that the retransmission consent regime is broken, socking consumers with higher bills and sudden TV station blackouts on the eve of major viewing events that millions of Americans don’t want to miss.

ACA is pleased that so many are now starting to listen. Reforming retransmission consent is a national priority because a surging mass of consumers across the country has come to see that the regulatory framework for access to broadcast signals adopted nearly 20 years ago is badly outdated and causing more harm than good. On March 3, the Federal Communications Commission took an historic first step by opening a rulemaking on retransmission consent, thus permitting ACA to document the many ways this regulatory framework permits TV station owners to abuse their market power.

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  News Headlines
  • AT&T To Buy T-Mobile USA For $39 Billion (New York Times, 3/20)
    AT&T announced on Sunday that it had agreed to buy T-Mobile USA from Deutsche Telekom for $39 billion, in a deal that would create the largest wireless carrier in the nation and promised to reshape the industry.
  • FCC Likely To Lower Pole-Attachment Rates At April Meeting (Broadcasting & Cable, 3/18)
    The FCC will tackle reforms of pole-attachment rules and will seek input on improving rights-of-way policies at an April meeting focused on boosting broadband deployment by wired and wireless carriers.
  • FCC Chairman Genachowski Shoots Down Broadcast 'Hoarding' Claim: 'Not True' (The Hill, 3/16)
    Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Julius Genachowski unambiguously sided with the cable and wireless industries in their spectrum dispute with broadcasters.
  • House Panel Votes To Repeal New FCC Internet Rules (Associated Press, 3/16)
    House Republicans have taken another step toward repealing new Federal Communications Commission rules that prohibit phone and cable companies from interfering with Internet traffic on their broadband networks.
  • LIN-Type Disputes Spur Look At Rules (BuffaloNews.com, 3/15)
    Sunday’s contract settlement between the Dish Network Corp. and LIN Media ended an eight-day blackout of WIVB (Channel 4) and WNLO (Channel 23) for Dish subscribers across Western New York.
  • Cable Nets Riled Up By Time Warner App (Adweek, 3/15)
    TV rights holders this week have unleashed their legal eagles, warning Time Warner Cable that its new distribution scheme is for the birds.
  • Senate Taking Early Lead In Privacy Debate (NationalJournal, 3/15)
    The Senate Commerce Committee will begin debate Wednesday on consumer online privacy as one of the panel's key members works on legislation that would require firms to tell consumers more, and offer more choices, about what information is being collected about them.
  • Contemplating Life Without Compulsory Licenses (CommonLawBlog, 3/13)
    While much attention in the MVPD/broadcaster world has recently been focused on the FCC’s inquiry into possible changes to the retransmission consent process, a separate proceeding is cranking up over at the Copyright Office that could eventually lead to far more fundamental changes to the must-carry/retrans system.
  • AT&T Implements Broadband Caps (Gigaom, 3/13)
    AT&T is planning to send out letters next week notifying subscribers about a coming broadband cap of 150 GB per month for DSL subscribers and 250 GB per month for U-verse subscribers, says company spokesman Seth Bloom in an interview at SXSW.
  • Dish Network And Lin Media Agree, Restore Channels (ABC News/Money, 3/13)
    Ending a dispute that caused 27 local television stations in 17 cities to go dark for eight days, Dish Network and television station owner Lin TV Corp. agreed to contract terms Sunday.
  • Retrans Regulation, Restoring The 'Faith' (SNL, 3/11)
    With more and more retransmission consent negotiations turning sour and yielding station blackouts, many industry observers seem to have little faith left in the good-faith obligation that is supposed to govern talks between pay TV providers and station owners.

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

  About ACA




ACA_new.jpg
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.

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

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