WASHINGTON—April 7, 2008—The needs of independent cable customers are front and center as the American Cable Association kicks off its 15th Annual Summit in Washington, D.C. ACA members from across the country have gathered to inform Members of Congress and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioners that blatant retransmission consent price discrimination and anticompetitive tying practices must stop so the focus can remain on delivering quality programming choices, broadband services and value to customers.
As the ACA fights for the needs of its members, consumers and communities, the Summit will facilitate meetings with lawmakers and agency officials, provide insight from compelling keynote speakers – including U.S. Representative Mike Doyle (D-PA) – and offer innovative programming and business solutions from industry partners. Most importantly, it will provide policymakers and industry leaders with very real stories of independent, smaller and rural cable providers across the U.S.
“As the independent cable industry and its influence has grown, ACA has evolved from a reactive association to one that proactively advocates for our members, their customers, and their issues on the Hill and with the FCC,” said Matthew M. Polka, ACA president and chief executive officer. “In 15 years, our mission has never changed – to preserve the independent cable industry and fight for the customers it serves. The challenges we are facing today have grown in both number and potential impact. But as this year’s Summit will show, we are up to the challenge.”
ACA members will urge legislators to prioritize the needs of consumers over the bottom lines of broadcasters and programmers, allowing small and independent cable operators to make necessary investments toward delivering quality programming and affordable broadband services. Specifically, they will engage policymakers to combat the broadcasters’ and programmers’ use of their market power to discriminate against smaller operators by extracting higher programming fees than those charged larger operators in the same market. In addition, ACA members are fighting the broadcasters’ and programmers’ practice of tying desired programming with undesired programming, which forces independent operators to include these channels in their lowest priced tiers, regardless of consumer interest or its impact on the consumer’s bill.
“The voices of customers of independent cable providers will be heard loudly and clearly in Washington, D.C.,” stated Patrick Knorr, chief operating officer of Sunflower Broadband and The World Co. of Lawrence, KS, and chairman of the ACA Board of Directors. “If programmers and broadcasters ended the pricing and packaging discrimination against independent cable operators, our customers will benefit. ACA will continue to fight for the rights of consumers in Washington.”
The Summit and ACA’s 15th Anniversary Celebration officially opened this evening with a celebratory dinner event at the Mellon Auditorium.
U.S. Representative Mike Doyle (D-PA) will deliver the keynote congressional speech on Wednesday, April 9, at the Westin City Center. Congressman Doyle is currently serving his seventh term in the U.S. House of Representatives; he is a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and is the Vice-Chairman of the Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet, which has jurisdiction over all communications, media and technology issues.
For more information about the ACA’s 15th Annual Summit please visit www.acasummit.org.
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 who provide broadband services for more than 7 million cable subscribers primarily located in rural and smaller suburban 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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