For Immediate Release
Contact: Ted Hearn
PITTSBURGH, June 22, 2018 – The American Cable Association appreciates the progress the Federal Communications Commission has been making to reduce the gap in regulatory fees paid by cable/IPTV providers and Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS) providers like Dish Network and DirecTV, as stated in its comments filed yesterday with the FCC. But the trade group believes that it is now time for the agency to complete its incremental phase-in of DBS fee increases to ensure a level playing field among firms competing in the same marketplace.
“ACA applauds the FCC for its steady march toward parity. However, it is now time for the FCC to complete the journey and adopt an identical rate for DBS and cable television/IPTV providers. As the FCC has recognized again and again, the burden on Media Bureau full time employees (FTEs) of regulating and overseeing DBS and cable/IPTV providers is ‘roughly the same,'” ACA President and CEO Matthew M. Polka said.
The FCC relies on regulatory fees to fund its operations. For fiscal year 2018, the agency is proposing to collect 77 cents per subscriber, per year from cable/IPTV providers and 48 cents from DBS operators. Although fiscal 2018 levels represent a decrease for cable and an increase for DBS, ACA believes the FCC should establish 67 cents as the fee for both cable/IPTV and DBS to establish fee parity. Completing its journey toward parity now is totally justified by the roughly equivalent burdens that cable/IPTV and DBS place on FCC personnel in the Media Bureau.
ACA said that concerns about fee parity now simply fail to recognize the de minimis impact it would have on DBS customers. Although ACA recognizes that the FCC adopted a “phased-in” approach since 2015 to DBS fees to avoid sudden and large changes in the amount of fees, ACA explained that achieving true parity between cable/IPTV and DBS providers by setting both fees at 67 cents would raise DBS subscribers’ monthly bills by less than 3 cents over 2017 rates.
About the American Cable Association: Based in Pittsburgh, the American Cable Association is a trade organization representing about 800 smaller and medium-sized, independent companies that provide broadband, phone and video services to nearly 8 million customers 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: https://www.americancable.org/