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ACA Calls On FCC To Clear Out Regulatory Underbrush

Time To ‘Fire Up The Weedwacker’And Remove Burdensome Rules On Small Cable

PITTSBURGH, July 6, 2017 - The American Cable Association is calling on the Federal Communications Commission to abolish or modify a host of cable regulations that are no longer necessary or are unduly burdensome, particularly for smaller operators, to advance the goal of reducing regulations and undue burdens that can stand in the way of network expansion and innovation in media markets.

"ACA applauds the FCC's initiative to seek industry comment on clearing the regulatory underbrush that has accumulated over decades of FCC regulation of cable operators. Review, elimination or modification of the regulations ACA has identified will provide meaningful relief and allow smaller cable operators to focus their limited resources on service innovations and broadband network deployment, rather than regulatory red-tape, without any diminution in service quality or customer care" ACA President and CEO Matthew M. Polka said.

ACA filed comments yesterday in response to an FCC Public Notice initiating a review of federal rules applicable to media entities, including cable operators, in an effort to identify, with input from the public, those rules that are outdated, unnecessary, or unduly burdensome, and therefore ripe for elimination or modification.

In the comments, ACA urged the FCC to focus on four areas. First, the FCC should consider eliminating or modifying its performance testing obligations and related recordkeeping requirements, as well as its technical standards for analog cable systems and the requirement that operators establish a signal quality-specific complaint resolution process.

Second, the FCC should review several redundant and outdated recordkeeping and public inspection file rules, including the requirement to maintain a hard copy of Part 76, the duplicative Equal Employment Opportunity online posting requirements, the requirement to maintain a current channel lineup at a local system office, and the requirement to include in their public file unnecessary information about must-carry signals carried. ACA also recommends an investigation of potential relief for cable operators from the burdens of demonstrating compliance with the children's advertising limits.

Third, the FCC should review the continued need for certain customer notice obligations, including the categories of content that cable operators must provide subscribers annually, basic tier availability notices that must be provided at installation, and notices about equipment compatibility. The FCC should also eliminate from the books a regulation requiring digital TV transition notices that expired back in 2009.

Finally, the FCC should eliminate Form 325 or, at the minimum, no longer sample a random number of cable systems with less than 20,000 subscribers. Much of the information provided in Form 325 is available from other available sources, or serves no real utility in today's market.

About the American Cable Association: Based in Pittsburgh, the American Cable Association is a trade organization representing nearly 750 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 http://www.americancable.org/

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