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!