For Immediate Release
Contact: Ted Hearn
PITTSBURGH, July 12, 2018 – The American Cable Association issued the following statement regarding four Federal Communications Commission votes today responsive to the needs of independent communications providers. The FCC’s actions should speed access to poles, reduce paperwork and recordkeeping burdens related to Children’s Television mandates, avoid additional C-Band registration burdens, and provide EAS participants with reasonable advance notice about tests using live event codes:
“Because smaller communications providers lack the people and capital resources to devote to regulatory compliance largely designed for much larger entities, ACA greatly appreciates it when the FCC comes to the aid of these smaller providers by easing regulatory burdens, relaxing deadlines, reducing paperwork burdens, and fostering opportunities for engagement. By lifting burdens and adopting targeted reforms in today’s items, the FCC is moving the country forward and helping close the digital divide in rural America where the majority of ACA members offer video, broadband Internet, and a range of communications services,” ACA President and CEO Matthew M. Polka said.
ACA commented on the following actions taken by the FCC today:
Poles: In the Formal Complaint Report and Order adopted today, the FCC established a 270-day shot clock for pole attachment complaints related to rates, terms, and conditions of attachments and enabled parties bringing a pole attachment complaint to request inclusion on the Accelerated Docket. Moreover, as ACA and NCTA advocated, the decision retained rules — originally left out of the draft Order — that allow complainants to have access to critical information from pole owners to ensure that complaints can be fairly resolved.
“ACA appreciates the FCC’s actions in the Formal Complaint Report and Order to reform the pole attachment complaint process while retaining the requirement that pole owners provide complainants with essential information. This decision should facilitate pole attachment negotiations and attachments. ACA looks forward to the FCC acting shortly on other pole attachment reforms. In the end, all these actions by the FCC will expedite and lower the cost of broadband deployments,” ACA President and CEO Matthew M. Polka said.
KidVid: In the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on children’s programming adopted today, the FCC evaluates whether the children’s programming regime needs to be modernized. Consistent with the draft rulemaking, the item seeks comment on ways to provide broadcasters greater flexibility in meeting their obligations. Last week, ACA urged the Offices of the Commissioners to also examine ways to reduce the recordkeeping burdens on cable operators without disturbing the substantive restrictions on commercial material in children’s programming. ACA highlighted that under the current rules related to commercial limits on children’s programming, cable systems with more than 1,000 subscribers must, on a quarterly basis, collect and post to their online public inspection files certifications from every programmer that they are comply with the limits on commercial programming. In the NPRM adopted today, the FCC took account of ACA’s advocacy, and sought comment on allowing cable operators to post these notices on an annual rather than quarterly basis.
“ACA applauds the Commission for taking time to reevaluate the outdated children’s programming regime, particularly Commissioner O’Rielly who has taken lead on this matter. We also thank the Commission for modifying the draft NPRM to include a review of the cable recordkeeping requirements.”
C-Band: The Order on Expanding Flexible Use of the 3.7-4.2 GHz (C-Band) adopted today did not include an onerous new information collection requirement for registered C-band receive-only earth stations. A draft of the order that circulated a few weeks ago would have required C-band receive-only earth station users – even those who had registered previously – to report new information about the satellite transponders from which they receive signals. ACA and two of its members – Shentel and LHTC Broadband – met with the FCC’s International Bureau staff and with several 8th floor advisors to explain how difficult it would be for small cable operators to collect and report the new information.
“ACA believes that the Chairman Pai and the rest of the Commissioners made the right decision in removing the new reporting requirement from the Order. ACA looks forward to working with the FCC to determine the best path forward to expand flexible use of the C-Band,” Polka said.
EAS: In the Emergency Alert System Order adopted today, the FCC put in place a framework for EAS testing that uses live event codes. The FCC explained that the purpose of live code tests is to ensure the proficiency of both alert originators and EAS participants – including cable system operators – to carry out EAS alerts under emergency conditions. As ACA advocated, the FCC clarified in the Order the importance of EAS participants having sufficient notice of these tests to allow for necessary planning. The FCC further noted its expectation that live code test planners coordinate in good faith with affected EAS participants, including cable operators, and it encouraged providing at least two weeks’ advance notice of such tests.
“Independent cable operators play an important role in delivering EAS alerts. Ensuring smaller operators have sufficient notice of live code EAS tests gives them an opportunity to plan and to participate effectively, allowing the benefits of these tests to be shared as broadly as possible,” Polka said. “ACA thanks the FCC for taking steps in this Order to make these tests more inclusive of all EAS participants, including smaller cable operators.”
About the American Cable Association: Based in Pittsburgh, the American Cable Association is a trade organization representing about 800 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’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: https://acaconnects.org/