The American Cable Association is asking the FCC to take
action on the petition by the National Cable and Telecommunications Association
to forbear enforcement of the FCC's prohibition on cable operators merging with
competitive local exchange carriers.
NCTA met with FCC officials in the past week to press its
case for the forbearance petition, which
was filed over a year ago.
NCTA argues that the current waivers process and the
gauntlet of local franchise authorities that has to be run to achieve it is impeding
Cable ops argue that the prohibition on cable and telco
melds was meant to preserve competition between incumbent cable ops and
incumbent local exchange carriers -- AT&T, Verizon -- not between cable ops
and competitive carriers to those incumbent telcos.
ACA agrees. In letters to each
of the commissioners, ACA president Matt Polka pointed out that cable
operators are not dominant providers of local exchange service, and that cable
operators primarily service residential customers and CLECs primarily business
customers. "[A]lliances between cable operators and non-incumbent providers
achieve the procompetitive aims of the 1996 Act, as cable operators bring
capital and stability to these competitive entrants who in turn contribute
their business telecommunications expertise to cable operators," said Polka.