Resolution Seeks Referral Of Matter To Section 706 Joint Conference To Examine Impact On Broadband Deployment By Smaller Operators In Rural Areas
PITTSBURGH, February 15, 2011 – “The American Cable Association commends the panel under the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) for adopting a resolution today that would urge the Federal Communications Commission to recommend that the Section 706 Joint Conference examine the impact of fair and non-discriminatory access to video content on the deployment of broadband in rural areas by smaller operators.
“This resolution, adopted by NARUC’s Committee on Telecommunications after introduction by Indiana State Utility Commissioner Larry Landis, sends a timely and important message to policymakers and the industry that fair treatment for small providers and their subscribers residing in rural communities across the nation is a critical public policy objective. Small operators forced to pay these discriminatory fees have less capital to spend on vital network improvements, forcing rural consumers and business to wait longer than they should for Internet access services needed to compete in the global economy.
“Confronting this issue now is important before more damage is done to the competitive landscape. Without reasonable economic access to video programming, smaller providers may lose the means to continue to serve, and new providers will lack the ability to enter markets and extend the reach of their video and broadband services to unserved areas.
“ACA looks forward to working with the members of the Section 706 Joint Conference to help them understand the extent of price discrimination in the marketplace and the impact that paying higher fees than larger operators has on smaller operators and their ability to deploy broadband.
“In comments regarding the Petition for Rulemaking to Amend the FCC’s Rules Governing Retransmission Consent filed on May 18, 2010, ACA told the FCC that smaller pay-TV providers pay retransmission consent fees that are more than twice what larger providers pay for the same broadcast signals.
“No meaningful cost-based justification exists for this disparity: It simply reflects the vast difference in bargaining power between ACA members and Big 4 affiliates of ABC, NBC, CBS, and FOX. Pervasive price discrimination against smaller cable operators raises costs for smaller-market consumers and impedes broadband deployment — important public interest concerns the FCC must protect. A copy of ACA’s comments can be found here: http://bit.ly/a6b4Pf
The FCC has tentatively announced an intent to adopt a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to amend its retransmission consent rules at its March 3, 2011 meeting.
About the American Cable Association
Based in Pittsburgh, the American Cable Association is a trade organization representing nearly 900 smaller and medium-sized, independent cable companies who provide broadband services for more than 7.6 million cable subscribers 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/