ABOUT ACA CONNECTS
Across this country, small and rural markets participate in the digital revolution by receiving video, broadband, and phone services from nearly 800 small and medium-sized independent operators represented by America's Communications Association.
ACA Connects members -- cable, phone, and fiber-to-the-home operators and municipalities -- deliver affordable basic and advanced services to nearly 11 million households and businesses. ACA Connects members operate in every state, offering high-definition television, next generation Internet access, 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.
ACA Connects asks lawmakers and regulators to ensure fair treatment so that small and medium-sized independent operators may continue to supply affordable video, broadband, 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.
MORE THAN 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 750 MEMBERS
ACA Connects' membership comprises more than 750 cable, phone, and fiber-to-the-home 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.
MORE THAN 11,000,000 SUBSCRIBERS
ACA Connects' members provide service to more than 11 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.
ACA CONNECTS HISTORY
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
After intense lobbying by ACA, the government imposes retransmission consent and regional sports network conditions on the DirectTV and News Corp. merger.
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.
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, 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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!
STAFF AND BOARD MEMBERS
Matthew PolkaPresident & CEO
Phone: 412.922.8300, ext. 14
Robert ShemaEVP Member Services & Finance/Chief of Staff
Phone: 412.922.8300, ext. 30
John HigginbothamEVP Member Services & Finance/Chief of Staff
Phone: 412.922.8300, ext. 34
Ross LiebermanSVP of Government Affairs
Ted HearnVP of Communications
Brian HurleyVP of Regulatory Affairs
Mike JacobsVP of Regulatory Affairs
Stacey LeechSenior Director of Meetings & Industry Affairs
Phone: 412.922.8300, Ext. 15
Karen YochumSenior Director of Administration & Finance
Phone: 412.922.8300, Ext. 16
Tomeika SlappyAssistant to the President & CEO
Phone: 412.922.8300, Ext. 11
Caroline PersingerProject Coordinator
Phone: 412.922.8300, Ext. 18
Independent Operator Of The Year
Presented annually by CableFAX Magazine and sponsored by ACA Connects- America's Communications Association and the National Cable Television Coop (NCTC), this honor recognizes an ACA Connects/NCTC independent cable operator that has distinguished itself by exemplifying excellence in service, sales, marketing, community service and industry advocacy.
- 2019 Vast Broadband
- 2018 IMON
- 2017 Shentel
- 2016 Cincinnati Bell
- 2015 MCTV
- 2014 Comporium
- 2013 Cable One
- 2012 Wave Broadband
- 2011 General Communications, Inc. (GCI)
- 2010 NewWave Communications
- 2009 NPG Cable, Inc.
- 2008 WOW! Internet, Cable & Phone
- 2007 Armstrong
- 2006 Patriot Media
- 2005 Buford Media
ACA Connects Eagle Award
The ACA Connects Eagle Award is presented annually to an individual who is an ACA Connects member who has served in the cable television industry for at least 15 years and whose achievements in that time have significantly benefited the cable television industry. Their dedication, effort, and service to the industry stand as an inspiration to his/her colleagues.munity service and industry advocacy.
- 2016 Bill Beaty, ComporiumI
- 2015 Terry Nidiffer, GCI
- 2015 Chris Cinnamon
- 2013 Steve Friedman, Wave Broadband
- 2009 Martin Brophy, Shen-Heights TV Cable
- 2008 Pat Thompson, RBC Daniels
- 2008 Steve Weed, Wave Broadband
ACA Connects Chairman's Award
The ACA Connects Board of Directors' Chairman Award is given to the board's chairman for their leadership and vision for Independent Cable. The award is normally presented at the end of the Chairman's term.
- 2019 Robert Gessner, MCTV
- 2014 Colleen Abdoulah, WOW! Internet, Cable & Phone
- 2010 Steve Friedman, Wave Broadband
- 2008 Patrick Knorr, Sunflower Broadband
- 2006 Jim Gleason, Vast Broadband
- 2002 Steve Weed, Wave Broadband
- 1999 Bill Mitchell, Com South Cable
- 1998 Ben Hooks, Buford Media
- 1997 David Kinley, Sun Country Cable
PAC Leadership Award
The ACA PAC Award is presented annually to an ACA Member Company or individual that demonstrates awareness of the importance of contributing to the ACA PAC to help elect both Democratic and Republican candidates in the U.S. House and Senate who are concerned about the well being of independent cable operators.
- 2018 Patrice Carroll, ImOn Communications
- 2017 Paul Hannigan, Bee Line Cable
- 2017 Big Sandy Broadband (Corporate)
- 2016 Shentel (Corporate)
- 2016 Jim Holanda, Patriot Media Management
- 2015 GCI
- 2015 Steve Weed
- 2014 MCTV & Julie Laulis
- 2013 John Gdovin, RCN
- 2013 Tom Steel, Atlantic Broadband
- 2012 Ronald Duncan, GCI
- 2012 Armstrong
- 2011 Nancy Gessner, MCTV
- 2011 GCI
- 2011 Belinda Dunivan, Windjammer
- 2010 Wave Broadband
- 2010 Tom Might, Cable ONE
- 2010 Earl Kuhn, Kuhn Communications
- 2009 Colleen Abdoulah, WOW! Internet, Cable & Phone
- 2009 Buckeye Cable Systems
- 2008 WOW! Internet, Cable & Phone
- 2007 Cable ONE
- 2006 Jim Gleason, New Wave Communications
Lyn Simpson Grassroots Spirit Award
The Lyn Simpson Grassroots Spirit Award is presented to an ACA Connects Member who has demonstrated:
- Dedication to the ACA Connects grassroots mission of political activism;
- Commitment to the success of smaller, independent cable businesses;
- Personal sacrifices in time and effort;
- And results that have made a difference to our members.
Lyn Simpson of Sun Country Cable in California was one of ACA Connects' founding members and early staff members who, despite many challenges, worked tirelessly in Washington and back home to lobby Congress and represent the concerns of all independent cable operators.
- 2017 Brian Lynch – Schurz Communications
- 2016 Danny Jobe – Metrocast
- 2015 Chad Lawson – Murray Electric System
- 2014 John Higginbotham – Frankfort Plant Board
- 2013 John Strode – Ritter Communications
- 2012 Chris Kyle – Shentel
- 2010 Jim Beattie – Bevcomm
- 2009 Chad Winters – Cass Cable TV
- 2008 Harron Communications
- 2007 Jim Gleason – New Wave Communications
- 2006 Michael Drake – Milestone Communications
- 2005 Patrick Davis – Davis Communications
ACA Connects Partnership Award
The ACA Connects Partnership Award is presented annually to an Associate Member who:
- Has demonstrated dedication and support to the mission of ACA Connects and to the success of smaller, independent cable businesses;
- Has encouraged our efforts and contributed to our growth
- 2018 Crown Media
- 2017 NCTI
- 2016 Scripps
- 2015 Discovery
- 2014 Adara
- 2013 Outdoor Channel
- 2012 Viamedia