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American Cable Association Commends FCC's Policy Focus In Cable Program Access NPRM

PITTSBURGH,  March 21, 2012 - ACA President and CEO Matthew M. Polka issued the following statement on the Federal Communications Commission's Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) initiating a review of the exclusive contract prohibition and other restrictions contained within the cable program access rules:

"ACA commends the FCC for asking the right questions in the program access NPRM released yesterday.  Importantly, the FCC asks whether the program access rules adequately address potentially discriminatory volume discounts, and if not, how to revise the rules to address these concerns.  The FCC also seeks comment on whether and how to revise rules that address uniform price increases imposed by vertically integrated, cable operator-owned programmers.

ACA members have extensive experience negotiating program access contracts with suppliers, relying on the program access rules to ensure small cable operators are able to receive a fair bargain. ACA has long held that FCC regulations are flawed because they leave small operators with no more than a few remedies, if that, to combat vertically integrated suppliers of programming that demand discriminatory prices, terms, and conditions, and engage in other types of behavior barred by the rules.

In previous filings, ACA has highlighted that the program access rules place no restriction on quantity discounts; provide no automatic right to continued carriage while complaints await FCC action; do not address arbitrary internal transfer pricing; and may not apply to programming for online distribution by Multichannel Video Programming Distributors (MVPDs).

ACA applauds the FCC for hearing the concerns of small cable operators and for seeking comment on the critical issues.

About the American Cable Association: Based in Pittsburgh, the American Cable Association is a trade organization representing about 850 smaller and medium-sized, independent cable companies who provide broadband services for more than 7.4 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 http://www.americancable.org/

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