About ACA Connects

Across this country, small and rural markets participate in the digital revolution by receiving broadband, video, and phone services from more than 600 small and medium-sized independent operators represented by ACA Connects – America’s Communications Association.

ACA Connects Members – fiber-to-the-home, cable, and phone operators and municipalities – deliver affordable basic and advanced services to nearly 8 million households and businesses. ACA Connects Members operate in every state, offering next generation Internet access, high-definition television, and digital phone service. Access to advanced communications is not a luxury but a critical necessity for consumers and companies, schools and hospitals. America’s economic prosperity in smaller markets and rural areas depends on the growth and success of ACA Connects Members, who believe a connected nation is a united nation.

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ACA Connects asks lawmakers and regulators to ensure fair treatment so that small and medium-sized independent operators may continue to supply affordable broadband, video, and phone services to Main Street America. Through active participation in the policymaking process, ACA Connects Members and leaders advocate for the interests of their customers, their companies, and their communities to help ensure the continued viability of their way of life in hometown America.

Over
25
Years
Since 1993, ACA Connects has represented small and medium-sized cable operators before the U.S. Congress, Federal Communications Commission and other federal agencies, advocating for the interests of their customers, their companies, and their communities to help ensure the continued viability of their hometown’s way of life.
More Than
600
Members

ACA Connects’ membership comprises more than 600 fiber-to-the-home, cable, and phone operators and municipalities in all 50 states, delivering affordable basic and advanced services, such as high-definition television, next generation Internet access, and digital phone often to small markets and rural areas.

Over
8M
Subscribers

ACA Connects’ Members provide service to more than 8 million households and businesses, some of whom have no other means of receiving vital communication services, which are essential for individuals, companies, and other entities, like schools and hospitals, and are crucial to America’s economic prosperity, particularly in smaller markets and rural areas.

In 2021, ACA Connects was again very active in advocating for laws, rules, and policies that benefit our Members, and we were successful in achieving our goals in a variety of legislative, regulatory and judicial proceedings. Below are ACA Connects’ biggest wins for our Members in Washington (and beyond) in 2021.

In order to accomplish our goals of advocacy and education, we have pulled together a group of the best and brightest of our industry! From our staff – who’s primary focus everyday is helping to support our members on legislative and regulatory issues, to our board – who’s guidance and direction enable us to keep our association moving forward, to our outside consultants – who provide advice and counsel in their areas of expertise, our ACA Connects team is positioned to provide unsurpassed representation of our Members on Capitol Hill and at the FCC!

Our History

SCBA is Founded
American Cable Association (ACA), first known as the Small Cable Business Association, is founded as 150 independent cable operators gathered in Kansas City to fight against government re-regulation of cable in the 1992 Cable Act.
1996
SCBA Becomes ACA
Organization changed its name from the Small Cable Business Association to the American Cable Association to reflect independent operators’ presence and impact across America.
2000
Cable Center in Denver Opened
ACA's Executive Committee christens the Cable Center in Denver and holds the first official meeting in the new structure, where ACA commissioned the ACA Conference Room to celebrate the history and accomplishments of independent cable operators.
2003
Public Awareness Raised
ACA Chairman Jim Gleason was invited to set the record straight on the CNBC Show “Squawk Box” on October 5 program to dispute economist John Rutledge’s statement that there isn't broadband service in rural areas. By sharing his side of the story, Gleason helped raise public awareness of ACA’s mission and of the issues affecting independent cable operators and the consumers they serve.
2006
ACA Chairman Speaks Out
ACA Chairman, Patrick Knorr, testified before the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Telecom and the Internet that “the switch to digital will impose unique burdens on our systems, which, if not appropriately dealt with will cause harm to consumers, especially in small and rural markets.” He urges the Committee to encourage the FCC to devise more flexible rules for ACA members.
2008
Low Cost HD Set-Top Box Victory
Over the years, ACA has stressed that the availability of low-cost, integrated HD-capable set-top boxes would have practical benefits. In an important victory for ACA, the FCC unanimously adopted the rules that will allow cable operators to deploy low-cost HD set-top boxes. These streamlined boxes cost $50 at wholesale, several hundred dollars less than the CableCARD-enabled boxes that were putting huge financial burdens on ACA members.
2012
ACA, Congress & the Stellar Act
ACA urged Congress to pass the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act Reauthorization Act (STELAR). This bill helped tap the brakes on out-of-control retransmission consent fees impacting ACA members and ultimately consumers. STELAR also rolled back burdensome set-top box regulations imposed by the FCC. Under STELAR, cable operators eventually will no longer be required to deploy STBs with expensive separate security modules knows as CableCARDs.
2017
New President and CEO
Grant Spellmeyer starts as ACA Connects' new President and CEO.
1993
De-Regulation
ACA wins rate de-regulation of independent cable in the 1996 Telecommunications Act, and de-regulation started in 1994 at the FCC with its small system order.
1999
ACA Forms Alliance with NCTC
ACA and the NCTC form a strategic membership alliance to give greater voice to independent cable operators’ concerns in Washington, D.C., and throughout the cable industry.
2001
FCC Imposes Programming Conditions
After intense lobbying by ACA, the government imposes retransmission consent and regional sports network conditions on the DirectTV and News Corp. merger.
2005
ACA–NCTC Independent Show Debuts
NCTC and ACA launch the first “Independent Show” in Chicago, bringing with it “Winds of Change” by highlighting throughout the cable industry the great strides and achievements of independent cable. After public hearings in which ACA participated, Pennsylvania lawmakers drop their support of legislation that would have allowed Verizon Communications to bypass the local franchise system and instead obtain a one-sided statewide franchise for cable television service. ACA PAC surpasses $50,000 in Contributions as awareness of ACA’s Political Action Committee (PAC) increase. As a result, ACA PAC was able to make congressional campaign contributions totaling $35,750 – the most in the ACA PAC history!
2007
Small Cable Needs Digital Must Carry Relief
ACA explained that operators with limited capacity or a small subscriber base need an exemption from digital must carry obligations that require the carriage of broadcaster’s signal in an analog and digital format after the transition. A month later, during the 15th Annual Summit, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin announced his intention to grant digital must carry relief for small operators. In August, the FCC adopted the digital must carry exemption for small cable operators.
2010
20th Anniversary of 1992 Cable Act
ACA President and CEO, Matt Polka, noted that the 20th anniversary of the 1992 Cable Act was hardly a cause for celebration. He said government-granted retransmission consent rights are repeatedly abused by broadcasters to lay down ‘blackmail or blackout’ ultimatums, usually timed to coincide with marquee sporting or cultural events to maximize their leverage over pay-TV providers.
2014
FCC Voted to Repeal Title II
In a big regulatory win for ACA members, the FCC proposed to restore the “light touch” regulatory framework to broadband internet access service. This win allows ACA members to reallocate funds into building out their broadband networks!
June 1, 2022
1993
1996
1999
2000
2001
2003
2005
2006
2007
2008
2010
2012
2014
2017
June 1, 2022
SCBA is Founded
American Cable Association (ACA), first known as the Small Cable Business Association, is founded as 150 independent cable operators gathered in Kansas City to fight against government re-regulation of cable in the 1992 Cable Act.
De-Regulation
ACA wins rate de-regulation of independent cable in the 1996 Telecommunications Act, and de-regulation started in 1994 at the FCC with its small system order.
SCBA Becomes ACA
Organization changed its name from the Small Cable Business Association to the American Cable Association to reflect independent operators’ presence and impact across America.
ACA Forms Alliance with NCTC
ACA and the NCTC form a strategic membership alliance to give greater voice to independent cable operators’ concerns in Washington, D.C., and throughout the cable industry.
Cable Center in Denver Opened
ACA's Executive Committee christens the Cable Center in Denver and holds the first official meeting in the new structure, where ACA commissioned the ACA Conference Room to celebrate the history and accomplishments of independent cable operators.
FCC Imposes Programming Conditions
After intense lobbying by ACA, the government imposes retransmission consent and regional sports network conditions on the DirectTV and News Corp. merger.
Public Awareness Raised
ACA Chairman Jim Gleason was invited to set the record straight on the CNBC Show “Squawk Box” on October 5 program to dispute economist John Rutledge’s statement that there isn't broadband service in rural areas. By sharing his side of the story, Gleason helped raise public awareness of ACA’s mission and of the issues affecting independent cable operators and the consumers they serve.
ACA–NCTC Independent Show Debuts
NCTC and ACA launch the first “Independent Show” in Chicago, bringing with it “Winds of Change” by highlighting throughout the cable industry the great strides and achievements of independent cable. After public hearings in which ACA participated, Pennsylvania lawmakers drop their support of legislation that would have allowed Verizon Communications to bypass the local franchise system and instead obtain a one-sided statewide franchise for cable television service. ACA PAC surpasses $50,000 in Contributions as awareness of ACA’s Political Action Committee (PAC) increase. As a result, ACA PAC was able to make congressional campaign contributions totaling $35,750 – the most in the ACA PAC history!
ACA Chairman Speaks Out
ACA Chairman, Patrick Knorr, testified before the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Telecom and the Internet that “the switch to digital will impose unique burdens on our systems, which, if not appropriately dealt with will cause harm to consumers, especially in small and rural markets.” He urges the Committee to encourage the FCC to devise more flexible rules for ACA members.
Small Cable Needs Digital Must Carry Relief
ACA explained that operators with limited capacity or a small subscriber base need an exemption from digital must carry obligations that require the carriage of broadcaster’s signal in an analog and digital format after the transition. A month later, during the 15th Annual Summit, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin announced his intention to grant digital must carry relief for small operators. In August, the FCC adopted the digital must carry exemption for small cable operators.
Low Cost HD Set-Top Box Victory
Over the years, ACA has stressed that the availability of low-cost, integrated HD-capable set-top boxes would have practical benefits. In an important victory for ACA, the FCC unanimously adopted the rules that will allow cable operators to deploy low-cost HD set-top boxes. These streamlined boxes cost $50 at wholesale, several hundred dollars less than the CableCARD-enabled boxes that were putting huge financial burdens on ACA members.
20th Anniversary of 1992 Cable Act
ACA President and CEO, Matt Polka, noted that the 20th anniversary of the 1992 Cable Act was hardly a cause for celebration. He said government-granted retransmission consent rights are repeatedly abused by broadcasters to lay down ‘blackmail or blackout’ ultimatums, usually timed to coincide with marquee sporting or cultural events to maximize their leverage over pay-TV providers.
ACA, Congress & the Stellar Act
ACA urged Congress to pass the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act Reauthorization Act (STELAR). This bill helped tap the brakes on out-of-control retransmission consent fees impacting ACA members and ultimately consumers. STELAR also rolled back burdensome set-top box regulations imposed by the FCC. Under STELAR, cable operators eventually will no longer be required to deploy STBs with expensive separate security modules knows as CableCARDs.
FCC Voted to Repeal Title II
In a big regulatory win for ACA members, the FCC proposed to restore the “light touch” regulatory framework to broadband internet access service. This win allows ACA members to reallocate funds into building out their broadband networks!
New President and CEO
Grant Spellmeyer starts as ACA Connects' new President and CEO.