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ACA Urges FCC To Reform USF While Keeping Special Needs Of Small Voice Providers In Mind

Trade Group's Views Part Of Larger Plan That Would Modernize USF, Direct Funds To Broadband For First Time

PITTSBURGH, January 8, 2010 - The American Cable Association said in comments filed at the Federal Communications Commission that voice providers with 100,000 accesslines or fewer must not lose access to USF funding under an any interpretationof ACA's own proposal that would eliminate subsidies to telephone carriers thatface competition in their markets from entities that are not dependent on government support.

"ACA agrees with those who believe that USF reform is needed to bring program costs under control and finance the new mission of providing support to operators that would provide broadband to consumers in unserved and underserved areas," American Cable Association President and CEO Matthew M. Polka said."However, ACA does not believe that cutting off small voice carriers that receive the lion's share of their revenue from USF mechanisms cold turkey would,as some have suggested, serve the public interest."

The views expressedin this proceeding are part of ACA's comprehensive USF reform proposal thatwould cap the size of the $4.4 billion high-cost fund and withdraw support fromlarge voice providers and all wireless providers that face competition fromentities that have demonstrated they can compete against incumbents without USFsupport. Realized savings would provide the FCC with billions of dollars on arecurring basis to support broadband deployment projects for the first time in the agency's 76-year history.

"ACA's planachieves in elegant fashion the twin goals of USF reform and financial supportof broadband deployment. It also offers assurances to small phone companies,especially those with 100,000 access lines or fewer, that their traditional reliance on USF to keep basic phone rates stable and affordable won't beinvoluntarily withdrawn," Polka said.

ACA's comments camein response to an FCC public notice seeking comment on USF reform proposalsvolunteered by the National Cable & Telecommunications Association. Unlike ACA, NCTA would employ a competitive-carrier test to all incumbent phonecarriers receiving USF support, regardless of the number of subscriber accesslines that have been placed into service by any particular carrier.

About the AmericanCable Association

Based in Pittsburgh, the American Cable Association is atrade organization representing nearly 900 smaller and medium-sized,independent cable companies who provide broadband services for more than 7million cable subscribers primarily located in rural and smaller suburbanmarkets across America.  Through active participation in the regulatoryand legislative process in Washington, D.C., ACA's members work together toadvance the interests of their customers and ensure the future competitivenessand viability of their business.  For more information, visit http://www.americancable.org/

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