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American Cable Association To FCC: We Need Your Help

February 19, 2008

Today the American Cable Association, which represents smaller cable television companies in the U.S., issued a statement pointing to the harm that the cable programming industry's retransmission consent and wholesale programming practices inflict on these systems

Calling for the U.S. Federal Communications Commisison to address this issue, ACA president Matthew Polka stated the ACA's position during the annual Winter Educational Conference of the National Cable Television Co-operative (NCTC). 

“Without stability or security, ACA’s members will not be able to provide essential services to their customers,” Polka said during his presentation in Phoenix. “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," Pola added. "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.”

To smooth out the playing field, Polka then revisiting the ACA's existing campaign to moderately adjust wholesale programming and retransmission consent practices. Key on the ACA's wish list are pricing issues as well as more flexibility in the channel lineups member ACA companies offer to customers.

 “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.”

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