The American Cable Association yesterday urged the Federal Communications Commission to freeze key regulatory fees at current levels for small cable operators – those with fewer than 5,000 customers.

The FCC has proposed hiking per-subscriber cable fees by 10 percent, and microwave relay licenses used primarily by cable operators by more than 25 percent, according to the ACA. Such increases will be too steep for the ACA’s smallest members. About three-quarters of ACA members would fall under the 5,000-or-fewer benchmark.

“Holding fees at current levels for these providers makes sense considering that Congress and the administration are looking to these operators to help deploy broadband in unserved and underserved areas,” ACA President and CEO Matthew Polka said.

The FCC funds its annual operations by assessing fees on regulated entities, including the owners of small cable systems.

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