The latest element of the American Cable Association’s full-court press against discrimination against small operators is a letter sent to the Federal Communications Commission bemoaning the lack of regulation about pole attachment fees.
The ACA said it “supports ending the federal exemption that allows electric cooperatives and municipally owned utilities to charge small cable operators excessive fees to access their poles, conduits and other bottleneck facilities.”
"In state after state, small cable operators encounter exorbitant pole attachment pricing by electric co-ops and municipal utilities that benefit from an anti-consumer, three-decades-old exemption that is truly harmful to the goal of universal and affordable broadband access," American Cable Association President and CEO Matthew Polka said.
"We agree with the Federal Communications Commission that Congress should remove the exemption, helping to create a level playing field that ensures that millions of consumers are not injured by a regulatory loophole that has no place in the current market environment,” he continued.
The ACA sent its letter to the FCC in support of 13 state cable associations that gave the FCC a detailed filing on March 18 highlighting the fact that unregulated co-ops and municipal utilities often double and triple their rate schedules and seek compensation that greatly exceeds the level sought by investor-owned utilities subject to federal price caps. The state associations' filing also stated that exempt pole owners receive fair compensation at rate levels far below the actual fees they insist that small cable operators pay.