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Higher Fees for Cable Broadband Will Slow Deployment

ACA Opposes Commission’s Proposed Pole Attachment Rate Increase

Pittsburgh, PA (April 22, 2008) – The American Cable Association (ACA) today filed comments with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) opposing a pole attachment rate increase for broadband services provided by cable operators. The comments, submitted in support of earlier comments filed by other cable operators, cited the adverse effect that raising pole attachment rates would have on both rural broadband deployment and the cost for consumers in small markets and rural areas who choose to receive high-speed Internet access from their local cable operator.

“Bridging the digital divide that separates too many rural American communities from broadband access is a national imperative,” said Matthew M. Polka, ACA president and CEO. “The Commission’s proposed increase of pole attachment rates would put a costly toll on that bridge and significantly slow deployment in the small and rural communities that need it most. This toll will ultimately be paid by rural cable consumers, whose bill is already inflated by federal rules that permit discriminatory retransmission fees and unfair tying and bundling practices by broadcasters and programmers. To achieve its stated goal of increased broadband deployment in the United States, the Commission should be exploring ways to lower broadband costs, not add to them.”

In their filing, the ACA also asserted that the Commission lacked a statutory basis for raising the cable attachment rates, citing the Pole Attachment Act provision that “a pole rate is just and reasonable if it assures a utility the recovery of not less than the additional costs of providing pole attachments,” which the current cable broadband attachment rate does. ACA’s filing also declared that raising the cost of broadband services by $52.27 to $392.00 per year for smaller-market and rural subscribers would not eliminate any perceived obstacles to broadband deployment by telecommunications carriers, but would, in fact, price broadband out of reach for many smaller-market and rural consumers.

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About the American Cable Association
Based in Pittsburgh, the American Cable Association is a trade organization representing 1,100 smaller and medium-sized, independent cable companies that provide broadband services for more than 7 million cable subscribers primarily located in rural and smaller markets across America. Through active participation in the regulatory and legislative process in Washington, D.C., ACA’s members work together to advance the interests of their customers and ensure the future competitiveness and viability of their business. For more information, visit www.americancable.org.

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