Polka Addresses Members at Annual Independent Show
ORLANDO, FL, July 28, 2008 — As the annual Independent Cable Show kicked off in Orlando, Florida today, American Cable Association (ACA) president and CEO Matt Polka spoke to his members about the state of the industry and the fight to fix a broken regulatory system. Addressing more than 150 independent cable operators from around the country, Polka provided updates on the significant progress the Association and the industry have made recently and outlined ACA’s legislative and regulatory agenda for the remainder of the year.
Among the achievements Polka discussed today were:
- The recent announcement by Disney Inc. that it plans to extend reduced retransmission consent rates to a small group of ACA members validated ACA’s contention that the retransmission consent market is broken and that take it or leave it demands by broadcasters and programmers places operators harm smaller operators and their subscribers.
- The inclusion of Broadband Deployment funding in the Farm Bill approved by Congress May 15.
- At ACA’s urging, the FCC required Liberty Media / DIRECTV to abide by program access, program carriage, regional sports network arbitration, and retransmission consent arbitration conditions as part of their February merger.
- Congressional passage of the Internet Tax Moratorium extension set to expire in November of 2007 that prohibits the taxation of essential Internet service by local or state governments for an additional seven years.
“The past nine months have marked a turning point for the American Cable Association and the small and independent cable industry,” said ACA President and Chief Executive Officer Matthew M. Polka. “Facing significant challenges to the way we do business and the way our members serve their customers, we have taken a stand and are strongly pushing back on the extortion and discriminatory practices we face at the hands of broadcasters and programmers. We are making progress at the FCC and in Congress to fix the broken retransmission consent regime and we are fighting to put an end to the practice of tying and bundling. This has been a remarkable year, and it is only the beginning.”
Polka went on to outline the legislative and regulatory agenda for the remainder of 2008 and 2009, including:
- Finalizing an exemption to dual carriage requirements for smaller cable operators in the coming months.
- Adoption of a retransmission quiet period during the DTV transition that would prevent broadcasters from pulling their signals from cable systems during negotiations.
- Continued modifications to the current retransmission consent regime and the completion of the wholesale untying rulemaking.
This year’s Independent Show, the eighth overall joint annual members’ meeting sponsored by ACA and the National Cable Television Cooperative (NCTC), is playing host to more than a thousand representatives from 155 independent cable operators from around the country representing more than 7.2 million cable subscribers.
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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