Yesterday, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) and the American Cable Association (ACA) separately filed their opposition to the Federal Communication Commission’s new data collection survey form.
In January, the FCC issued a report that found that the cable industry does pass more than 70 percent of households, but it was undecided on the “second prong” of the test, which was whether 70 percent of those households actually subscribe to cable services.
As a result of the second prong not being met in the FCC’s eyes, it proposed a new reporting form that would collect additional data, including information from smaller cable operators.
The NCTA in its filing yesterday said that due to competition from satellite providers, “cable subscribership has hovered below 60 percent of homes passed for the last several years.”
Both the NCTA and the ACA said the new reporting form would place an additional financial burden on smaller cable operators.
The ACA asked the FCC to consider less onerous information collection methods for these systems, making the case that gathering historical data on customers served and homes passed would force them to redirect their limited resources to the detriment of their subscribers and their ability to best serve their communities with advanced services.
“Providing the historical data being sought by the Commission will be impossible for many smaller cable systems, and very expensive and time consuming for others,” said ACA President and CEO Matthew M. Polka. “ACA and its members urge the Commission to permit smaller systems that do not maintain historical subscriber and homes-passed data to provide current data, and allow systems that do not track homes-passed data at all to submit their best estimates.
“Small- and medium-sized operators are not opposed to submitting the data and information that the FCC deems necessary, but urge the Commission to consider alternative methodologies to avoid requiring systems to provide data that is impossible to supply, or would require financial and administrative resources that are just not available.”
In its filing, the ACA asked the FCC to reconsider the “burdensome” reporting requirements that are imposed on smaller cable systems through the proposed 70/70 cable subscribership survey.
The ACA proposed permitting systems with 20,000 or less subscribers to submit current data for homes served and passed, and best estimates for homes passed for systems that do not track this information.
The ACA also asked the Commission to exempt systems of this size from having to account for unoccupied homes passed and unoccupied units in bulk-billed multiple-dwelling units (MDUs).