Agency Needs To Go Beyond Steps In The FNPRM To Ease Burdens On Smaller MVPDs
For Immediate Release
Contact: Ted Hearn
PITTSBURGH, August 3, 2018 – The American Cable Association is urging the Federal Communications Commission to adopt reforms to the cable leased access rules in an effort to reduce the administrative burdens on smaller multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs) that are legally required by statute to provide channel space to unaffiliated programmers willing to pay for that commercial access.
“Although the FCC cannot do away with the extremely outdated leased access requirements altogether, it can take steps both to reduce the administrative costs imposed by the current rules and to allow for some cost recovery for those that remain. The regulatory reforms outlined by the FCC in its own Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (FNPRM) will provide some relief, but ACA believes that additional reforms that target relief at smaller MVPDs are justified,” ACA President and CEO Matthew M. Polka said.
ACA presented its views in comments filed Monday, July 30, with the FCC, the agency responsible for crafting the commercial leased access framework created by Congress in 1984 that requires cable operators to set aside between 10 percent and 15 percent of their activated channels for commercial use by unaffiliated programmers and places restrictions on the fees that cable operators may charge for the lease of such channel capacity.
In the comments, ACA expressed support for the FCC’s proposals to require all cable operators to respond only to “bona fide” requests for information on leased access, to extend the length of time that operators have to respond to those requests, and to permit operators to charge an application fee or deposit.
Further, ACA asked the FCC to reduce administrative costs by adopting a “safe harbor” rate that any cable operator may charge for leased access in lieu of using the FCC’s complicated formula for determining the maximum rates that operators are permitted to charge. The FCC, ACA said, might also reduce the amount of information that cable operators must provide when responding to information requests.
Finally, ACA asked that cable operators be permitted to charge a “closing fee” when a leased access agreement is finalized in order to offset the administrative costs of negotiating the deal.
“By adopting these proposed reforms as well as those described in the FNPRM, the FCC can reduce the unnecessary administrative burdens of accommodating leased access requests without imposing unreasonable barriers on potential leased access programmers,” ACA’s Polka said.
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/