For Immediate Release
Contact: Ted Hearn
PITTSBURGH, February 8, 2019 – In comments submitted today, the American Cable Association urged the Federal Communications Commission to eliminate rate regulation rules for small cable operators. More specifically, it urged the FCC to provide deregulatory relief, at a minimum, to systems serving 15,000 or fewer subs that are owned by cable companies serving 400,000 or fewer subscribers. It noted that higher thresholds may be appropriate.
“Whatever justification there may have been for rate regulation nearly thirty years ago, no justification exists today because cable operators compete against satellite companies, other cable operators, and online offerings like DIRECTV Now, Hulu, and YouTube TV,” ACA President and CEO Matthew M. Polka said. “Indeed, only a handful of larger operators are still subject to the rules — and even they would not be if the FCC were to update the relevant test to account for online providers. Yet the mere prospect of imposing these rules on smaller cable operators would cause substantial harm. It’s long past time we eliminated them once and for all.”
ACA described in detail the difficulty and complexity that imposition of rate regulation would have on smaller cable operators, who would have to assemble and manipulate data from decades ago in order to properly complete the relevant forms. They would almost certainly have to hire expensive outside consultants, diverting resources that could otherwise be used to improve plant or services. ACA also described the FCC’s longstanding and ample legal authority to eliminate these rules.
The FCC also proposed less extensive but still helpful deregulatory steps for mid-size and larger cable operators. ACA urged the FCC to adopt these proposals if it concludes that it lacks authority to eliminate the rules entirely for such entities.
About the American Cable Association: Based in Pittsburgh, the American Cable Association is a trade organization representing more than 700 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/