Need for Reform, FCC Action Focus of ACA Comments at NCTC Winter Educational Conference
PHOENIX, February 19, 2008 — The need for action by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to address the harm of current retransmission consent and wholesale programming practices was the focus of a presentation made today by the American Cable Association (ACA) during the annual Winter Educational Conference of the National Cable Television Co-operative (NCTC). Speaking on a panel entitled, “ACA and the Firestorm of 2008,” ACA President and CEO Matthew M. Polka addressed the adverse effects broadcasters’ and programmers’ price discrimination and abuse of market power have on small and medium-sized, independent cable operators.
“Without stability or security, ACA’s members will not be able to provide essential services to their customers,” Polka said. “The small and rural communities independent cable operators serve today are the ones that will suffer tomorrow. Discrimination against independent cable is threatening the ability of hometown cable providers to deploy broadband and other advanced services. The time for Washington to act is now. We need Washington’s help to address these concerns and restore the promise of advanced services and greater choices to our customers.”
Polka also addressed ACA’s ongoing efforts to win moderate adjustments to regulations on wholesale programming and retransmission consent practices. Specifically, ACA has requested regulatory adjustments that would address programming and retransmission consent price discrimination and that would give independent cable operators more flexibility in how they offer channels at retail.
“Especially in retransmission consent, the magnitude of price discrimination against smaller cable companies has reached unconscionable levels. There is no justification for broadcasters charging small companies per subscriber fees up to 20 times more than those paid by the largest providers,” stated Polka. “This discrimination and the increased costs hurt small businesses, increases cable costs for small town subscribers and impedes broadband deployment. The FCC has the power to level the playing field and stop this abuse for the good of consumers and independent businesses alike.”
About the American Cable Association
Based in Pittsburgh, the American Cable Association is a trade organization representing 1,100 smaller and mediumsized, independent cable companies who provide broadband services for more than 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 www.americancable.org.