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ACA to FCC: Independent Cable Plays Vital Role in Delivering Broadband to Rural Communities

Urges FCC to Encourage Greater Broadband Deployment Through Limited Regulation and Sensitivity to Unique Market Concerns

PITTSBURGH, July 21, 2008-Advocating for the elimination of regulatory and marketplace burdens that prevent the deployment of broadband services to small and rural communities across America, the American Cable Association (ACA) today urged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to be vigilant in its ongoing review of regulations that have a significant economic impact on small cable operators. This review will determine whether the rules should be amended or rescinded in order to free up resources and bandwidth for the deployment of greater broadband services in rural America.

Addressing the Chairman and Commissioners from the FCC, Members of Congress and industry leaders, ACA President and CEO Matthew M. Polka delivered the Association's remarks at the FCC's public en banc hearing on broadband and the digital future, held at Carnegie Mellon University.

"ACA members are vital businesses and competitors in their communities and for consumers," stated Mr. Polka. "Our members are offering broadband to their customers, in spite of the economic challenges typical of service providers in rural America. Our customers want broadband, and we are finding ways to offer it at reasonable prices even with increasing costs of running the business and supporting broadband services."

Mr. Polka outlined the unique challenges impacting independent cable operators with a limited subscriber base that frequently hinder their ability to roll out advanced broadband services. The costs to upgrade systems are difficult to recoup; disperse customers lead to higher costs of network maintenance; and access to capital in small town America can be difficult.

Today's comments at the hearing follow multiple filings by ACA to the FCC urging the Commission to put an end to discriminatory and harmful programming bundling and retransmission consent practices to ensure the continued deployment of broadband services in smaller markets and rural areas, not to mention giving consumers more choice and control over the programming they want to watch.

Mr. Polka concluded his remarks by urging the Commission to proceed with its rulemaking on tying and bundling and retransmission consent and to complete this process as soon as possible.

The full text of Polka's remarks can be found at www.americancable.org.

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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 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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080721 Polka FCC Testimony FINAL.pdf45.14 KB

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