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Low-Power TV Mandate Left Off the FCC Agenda

ACA Urges Commission to Consider Wholesale Unbundling as Alternative

Pittsburgh, October 14, A rulemaking that could have allowed Class-A low-powered TV stations to be designated as must carry has been removed from the agenda of tomorrow's Nashville, TN Federal Communications Commission meeting.  As recently as last week, the American Cable Association (ACA) expressed its concerns to the proposal on the grounds that it was unnecessary and would strain the already overburdened system capacity of smaller cable operators.

"The Commission's goal of promoting diverse programming is an admirable one, but this sort of mandate doesn't serve consumers' best interests," said ACA CEO and President, Matthew M. Polka.  "Rather than mandating carriage, the Commission can promote more local and diverse programming by adopting modest reforms aimed at fixing the broken wholesale programming market, such as those contained in ACA's proposal.  Preventing full power broadcasters and programmers from coercing cable and satellite providers into paying for unwanted programming bundled with wanted channels would free up system capacity and cash better spent on carrying independent networks, including Class A stations.  Given the FCC's commitment to promoting diversity on television, we are hopeful that the Commission will adopt these changes this year."

In a January 4 filing with the FCC, the ACA urged the FCC to adopt new rules that would allow small cable operators the flexibility to provide consumers with a superior television service, including a wider variety of tiers, better value, and more independent programming. The comments were filed as part of the FCC's wholesale programming rulemaking (MB Docket No. 07-918).

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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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