Trade Group Says Action Needed To Encourage Broadband
PITTSBURGH, October 13, 2015 – The American Cable Association urged the Federal Communications Commission to act immediately to ensure that cable operators that offer broadband Internet access avoid seeing a spike in pole attachment fees as a result of broadband service being reclassified as a telecommunications service in the Open Internet Order.
ACA’s request, which followed comments it filed earlier this year, came in an ex parte letter filed with the FCC on Oct. 9 in which the trade group for the independent cable community urged adoption of a petition filed by the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, Comptel and tw telecom that called for the telecommunications pole attachment rate to be the same as the cable attachment rate, a rate which both the courts and the FCC have found to be just, reasonable and fully compensatory to pole owners.
Without FCC action sought in the NCTA Petition, cable operators offering broadband service will pay the telecommunications service pole attachment fee, which under the current formula may well result in rates higher than reasonable and more than fully compensatory for pole owners.
“The FCC should act expeditiously to grant the NCTA Petition because the FCC’s decision in the Open Internet Order to reclassify broadband Internet access service as a telecommunications service without forbearing from Section 224 creates a real risk that cable operators will face the higher telecommunications rate for attachments. Electric utilities have already indicated they will seek to have cable operators pay the higher rate,” ACA President and CEO Matthew M. Polka said.
ACA cable operator members continue to deploy new transmission lines, particularly as they expand into areas where they do not offer service, and install fiber to meet exploding broadband demand. Contrary to assertions by the utilities, increases in attachment rates to supra-compensatory rates would decrease free cash flow needed to upgrade broadband electronics.
“The NCTA Petition addresses a potential substantial problem that could thwart the FCC’s objective to obtain parity in the cable and telecommunications rates and should be granted for that reason alone,” Polka said.
About the American Cable Association: Based in Pittsburgh, the American Cable Association is a trade organization representing nearly 850 smaller and medium-sized, independent cable companies who provide broadband services for nearly 7 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/