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ACA's Polka Pushes Laundry List of Broadband Boosters to FCC

FCC chairman Ajit Pai met early on with the American Cable Association as he sought input on getting broadband to rural communities.

ACA president Matt Polka has plenty of ideas. 

In a letter to the chairman Tuesday, Polka had a laundry list of ways to help his smaller ISP members, who do much of the heavy lifting in terms of getting broadband to smaller and rural communities nationwide.

Among the things he said would further propel their infrastructure investments and provision of innovative services include returning to light-touch broadband regulation, which means reversing the Title II classification of ISPs and reconsidering the broadband privacy order that stemmed from that reclassification.

That also includes providing targeted financial support to build out to unserved areas, reducing barriers to buildouts—pole access, rights of way—and regularly review regulations for their outsized influence on smaller carriers.

ACA also wants the FCC to allow all providers subject to EEO requirements to be able to use internet-only sources for recruitment, as well as grant smaller carriers exemptions from Universal Service contributions.

Polka also wants the FCC to phase in regulatory obligations for smaller providers, streamline the waiver process for smaller providers, and follow the recommendation of commissioner Michael O'Rielly, by way of President Donald Trump's executive order, to create regulatory reform officers and task forces.

The FCC is an independent agency so is not under orders from the President but could follow that lead on its own initiative.

Under the category of modernizing video regs to "spur broadband investment and deployment," Polka includes letting cable programming buying cooperatives to get program access protections, avoid media ownership reg revamps that could increase their leverage over MVPDs, avoid forcing cable ops to carry new channels made possible by ATSC 3.0, "address" program bundling, revise regulatory fees, and more.