Bill Eliminates Needless Regulation, Protects Consumers From Harm, and Ensures Small Cable Operators Are Treated Fairly In Market
For Immediate Release
Contact: Ted Hearn
PITTSBURGH, July 25, 2019 – ACA Connects President and CEO Matthew M. Polka issued the following statement today regarding introduction of the Modern Television Act of 2019 by Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) and Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.):
“I applaud Reps. Scalise and Eshoo for introducing the Modern Television Act. It represents a serious and long-overdue attempt to address the increasing dysfunction in the television marketplace. For too long, broadcasters’ greed and ability to leverage their government-granted protections have led to skyrocketing prices and broadcaster blackouts. And for too long, ACA Connects’ smaller cable system operator members have borne the brunt of broadcasters’ misconduct. The Modern Television Act promises real change and real relief for consumers. It will eliminate outdated rules that no longer serve any useful purpose. And it will give the Federal Communications Commission authority to mandate interim carriage of broadcast stations and to require binding baseball-style arbitration to resolve disputes.
“If the Modern Television Act were law today, tens of thousands of Americans – including many customers of ACA Connects members – would never have lost their broadcast signals. And the endless cycle of broadcaster price increases might finally stop, or at least slow down.”
“I am especially pleased to see that the Modern Television Act contains provisions that, at long last, would extend the FCC’s good faith rules to negotiations involving buying groups used by small cable system operators, such as the National Cable Television Cooperative.
“Buying groups often negotiate carriage deals between large cable programmers and small cable operators because they lower transaction costs for the former and lower carriage fees for the latter. It’s a win-win, especially for consumers. However, the retransmission consent market has missed out on obtaining these same pro-competitive benefits. While negotiations between broadcasters and individual cable operators are governed by good faith rules, negotiations involving buying groups are not. This has led some large broadcasters to choose not to negotiate with small cable buying groups. The Scalise-Eshoo approach changes that. We at ACA Connects are very grateful. Whatever approach Congress ultimately adopts to deal with retransmission consent issues should have similar language.”
About ACA Connects: America’s Communications Association – Based in Pittsburgh, ACA Connects 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 Connects’ 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://acaconnects.org/