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ACA Applauds FCC Vote Looking At The Removal Of Barriers To Broadband Deployment

ACA Also Comments On BDS Regulation and UHF Discount

PITTSBURGH, April 20, 2017 -  American Cable Association President and CEO Matthew M. Polka issued the following statement regarding three votes by the Federal Communications Commission today on the removal of barriers to broadband deployment; light-touch regulation of business data services (BDS); and restoration of the UHF discount:

Accelerating Wireline Broadband Deployment by Removing Barriers to Infrastructure Investment (NPRM/NOI):

"ACA members are now planning to spend billions - on top of billions already spent over the past decade - to meet the needs of their customers who demand higher speeds and more capable service.  But far too often ACA members have to delay or abandon their builds because entities that own or control critical infrastructure - such as poles, conduits, and rights-of-way -- take too long to approve access or charge unreasonable fees.  ACA therefore supports today's FCC action to initiate a proceeding to examine these ‘access' problems and develop solutions.  The sooner we can lower these barriers, the sooner Americans living in all areas - served and unserved - will get access to broadband service that meets their needs."

Business Data Services in an Internet Protocol Environment (Report & Order):

"ACA applauds today's FCC action to continue its decades-long policy of applying light-touch regulations to competitive providers' offering of business data services (BDS).  This longstanding light-touch approach has been a resounding success.  Over the past decade, hundreds of ACA's smaller members have entered the BDS market, offering more innovative services at lower prices, and they are now investing billions more to expand their networks and offer even more robust services.  By maintaining its policy direction, the FCC will ensure that ACA members' business, community anchor, and wireless provider customers will reap the benefits of all the investment its action will generate."

Reinstating the UHF Discount (Order on Reconsideration):

"By reinstating the technically obsolete UHF discount, the FCC today unfortunately makes a bad situation even worse.  Customers served by ACA members are frustrated that their video bills continue to increase excessively.  These scandalous increases result from broken retransmission consent rules that empower local TV station owners to gouge smaller video providers and hit them with signal blackouts until their fee demands are met.

"In addition to driving video customers away, TV station retransmission consent practices act as a drag on ACA members' plans to upgrade and expand their broadband networks.

"Today's FCC vote will lead to further consolidation in the local broadcasting market. That will give local broadcasters only greater leverage in carriage negotiations, allowing them to drive prices higher and cause even more harmful blackouts.  To lessen the harms of reinstating the UHF discount and harms that will come from the likely further relaxation of the local television ownership rules, the FCC must fix the broken retransmission consent market by acting on the long pending retransmission consent rulemakings."

About the American Cable Association: Based in Pittsburgh, the American Cable Association is a trade organization representing nearly 750 smaller and medium-sized, independent cable companies who provide broadband services for nearly 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 http://www.americancable.org/

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