Today, the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee will hear testimony regarding whether to rewrite the two-decades-old Cable Act. Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W.V.) wants to find a way to protect viewers from disruptive programming disputes, saying in a statement: "In particular, I want to take a close look at how we make sure that consumers do not continue to get caught in the crossfire in programming disputes, facing dark screens and losing access to news, sports and other entertainment programming.” Witnesses include American Cable Association (ACA) Chairwoman Colleen Abdoulah…In comments filed yesterday at the FCC, the ACA asked the agency to close a major loophole in the program access rules to combat unfair pricing tactics by vertically integrated cable programmers. Commented ACA President/CEO Matthew M. Polka, “The FCC should step in and bar cable-affiliated programmers, which have the incentive and ability to favor their affiliated cable operators, from making it more difficult for unaffiliated MVPDs to secure access to programming on nondiscriminatory prices”…In reply comments filed regarding Universal Service Fund reform at the FCC, the ACA said it supports an allocation of federal broadband subsidies through the new Connect America Fund (CAF). In its comments, the ACA rejected a cost model proposed by price cap carriers that advocated a Digital Subscriber Line greenfield approach; ACA’s analysis reportedly demonstrated that a brownfield model most accurately reflects the activities LECs will realistically undertake to meet the FCC’s performance obligations of 4 Mbps downstream and 1 Mbps upstream. ACA also reiterated its view that “no CAF support whatsoever should be provided in areas where unsubsidized providers, such as ACA members, are offering broadband service.”

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Hill Hearing Ponders Broadband Affordability, Access

A House subcommittee hearing on broadband equity tackled everything from a permanent broadband benefit to rate regulation and municipal broadband.

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