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ACA’s Historic 20th Washington Summit Advances Independent Cable’s Policy Goals

Hundreds Of Small Operators Deliver Reform Agenda To Congress And The FCC

PITTSBURGH, March 15, 2013 - The American Cable Association's historic 20th Washington Summit concluded Thursday night as hundreds of ACA Members delivered their message to members of Congress and regulators at the Federal Communications Commission about the need to modernize communications laws and regulations.

"ACA Members came to Washington once again to demonstrate in person their interest in the passage of new laws and policies that will reflect the marketplace that the independent cable community and its customers operate in today. The fact that so many came from so far showed that ACA Members are serious about change and will never give up this important fight," ACA President and CEO Matthew M. Polka said.

Upbeat and optimistic as always, ACA Members made the rounds in the nation's capital explaining that the 1992 Cable Act is outdated and that the retransmission consent and sports programming markets are broken. They also called on the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the Senate Commerce Committee to hold a series of hearings this year on these topics.

"ACA firmly believes old rules governing new market conditions need to go and a good place to start is with hearings in the House and Senate. At those hearings, ACA will point out that retransmission consent fees are escalating too fast, TV station blackouts are on the rise and stations in about 20% of local markets are colluding in negotiating retransmission consent contracts with ACA Members in an effort to gain more money than they could if negotiating as individual stations," Polka said.

More than 300 registered attendees from dozens of ACA Member companies combined to complete 150 office visits with policymakers to spread the word on the need for bipartisan reform of important communications policies.

In addition to face-to-face sessions with lawmakers and regulators, ACA Members enjoyed many highlights over the course of the two-day event, including remarks by:

  • Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.), who said he is concerned that the deployment of infrastructure may not be keeping pace with the rapid move to all-IP networks and services;
  • Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.), who at ACA's 20th Anniversary Dinner praised independent cable operators for their critical role in creating jobs and spreading broadband services across America through marketplace competition;
  • ACA Chairwoman Colleen Abdoulah, who hailed the trade group's progress on behalf of the independent cable operator and pledged to continue the effort to obtain new rules that are responsive to the communications needs of hometown America;
  • FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai, who said in an question-and-answer session that he favors modernization at the FCC with an emphasis on process reform;
  • Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Rep. John Barrow (D-Ga.), who praised ACA for reaching out to Congress on the key issues and deploying broadband technology in rural areas; and
  • Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.), who told ACA Members that the existing federal telecommunications laws are long overdue for Capitol Hill review.

Independent cable operators from communities all across the great American heartland gathered in Washington, D.C., on March 12-14 to celebrate their two decades of achievement at the 20th Summit.

This year's ACA Summit - cable's premier event for smaller, independent and competitive cable operators - took place at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in downtown Washington, D.C.  The Summit is widely considered the best opportunity for small business owners serving hometown America with advanced communications services to advocate for change in one-on-one exchanges with Obama Administration officials, Capitol Hill lawmakers and senior FCC personnel.

The 20th ACA Summit extended the tradition as the most important forum nationally to honor the critical role played by independent cable operators that serve rural and remote regions of the country that are typically much more costly to build out with advanced technology.

The year's ACA Summit once again underscored the trade group's firm commitment to finding consensus and highlighting progress made on many critical issues, especially retransmission consent, broadband deployment and access to content on fair and reasonable terms.

For further information about the ACA Summit 2013 agenda and the exciting lineup of speakers please visit: http://acasummit.org/

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