ACA Asks FCC to Scrap Proof of Performance Testing
On same page with larger operators that analog rules are not suited to digital age
By John Eggerton -- Broadcasting & Cable, 1/28/2013 10:55:45 AM
But if the FCC does impose the rules on cable operators, ACA wants it to allow self-certification for the smaller operators it represents. "At the very least, if the Commission does adopt such testing requirements, it should permit smaller cable operators serving 400,000 or fewer subscribers to self-certify signal quality," ACA says.
In reply comments to the FCC's proposal to update its proof-of-performance rules and signal leakage criteria, ACA pointed out that when the FCC adopted the current regime back in 1992, it did not apply the proof-of-performance standards to digital cable systems, though it said it could if it appeared "necessary or desirable" in the future.
ACA says it is neither since the FCC has not identified a signal quality problem in need of resolving.
"There is no reasoned basis for imposing potentially burdensome digital proof-of-performance requirements on cable operators," ACA said.
ACA provides two other reasons for not moving the rule regime to digital: 1) improvements in cable technology and 2) competitive forces that provide marketplace incentive to deliver quality video.
In 1992, says ACA, analog systems relied on amplifiers that could result in noise and distortions, while the error correction capability of digital technology provides a more consistently good signal.
It also argues that with cable services now using independent nodes serving a few hundred customers apiece, testing one node would not provide much info, while having to test all of them would be an unnecessary burden, particularly on smaller operators, with no offsetting consumer benefit.
Verizon agreed with NCTA as well, saying in its reply comments that the FCC's rules were outdated and "largely irrelevant," particularly for its FiOS, which as an all-fiber system had "limited capacity" for leakage.
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