Independent Communications News - 2021 Issue 1

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Independent Communications Serving ACA Connects Members April 2021 - Issue 1

Broadband Funding: Friend or Foe?

Small Broadband Providers’ Next Challenge: The Return of Big Government

Idependent Communications News is an ACA Connects Publication.

Features: Innovative Systems Technetix NCTI Discovery, Inc. Viamedia

in this issue 03 04 06 08 10 12 14

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Small Broadband Providers’ Next Challenge: The Return of Big Government Broadband Funding: Friend or Foe? Embracing the Evolution of Video for Long-Term Success NCI, the smart headend RF signal management solution UP, UP…. and [SAVE] AWAY! A Year of Heroism, Innovation and the Maverick Spirit More Than 100 ACA Connects Member Companies Seek to Participate in the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program From Day One What Digital Buyers Need to Know About Linear TV ACAC Resources

Editor’s Note

Welcome to your new issue of Independent Communications News! It’s an editorial product created by the ACAC staff with the goal of satisfying a readership brimming with curious and spirited digital entrepreneurs. The aim is to highlight the work of our Operator and Associate Members as well as underscore our organization’s focus on the key policy issues in Washington, D.C. As you will you see, our Associate Members continue as leading industry vendors responsive to the needs of their video and broadband partners involved in navigating a complex and fastgrowing commercial environment. True, these partnerships have existed for quite a while, but their importance has never been more vital or more rewarding. External events – especially elections that usher in new political leaders -- have shaped our sector for decades. Today is no different. It should surprise no one that establishing new broadband laws and regulations is high on the Washington, D.C., to-do list. ACAC is ready to play a constructive role in the pending debate, as ACA Connects President and CEO Matthew M. Polka discusses in some detail in his ICN column on page 3. You’ll notice at least two changes. Starting with this issue, ICN will be all-digital, which furthers the goals of timely delivery, ease of storage and frictionless sharing. We’ve also changed the name from Independent Cable News to Independent Communications News. We are proud of our cable heritage, including this groundbreaking publication led for so many years by Cable Pioneer and Member Bob Searle, whom we greatly miss. But this small, yet significant, change reflects the ongoing consumer migration to broadband products, including video. Consumer behavior is still video centric but increasingly less so within the traditional cable TV space. We hope you agree with our conclusion here. Ted Hearn Editor-in-Chief

Independent Communications Serving ACA Connects Members

Publisher John Higginbotham 502.330.4057 Editor-in-Chief Ted Hearn 202.713.0826 Advertising/Business Stacey Leech 724.971.6388 Creative Director Nathan Penrod 412.715.2494 Subscriptions

ACA CONNECTS STAFF President & CEO Matthew M. Polka EVP & COO John Higginbotham SVP Government Affairs Ross Lieberman VP Communications Ted Hearn VP Regulatory Affairs Brian Hurley Mike Jacobs Sr Director of Administration Karen Yochum Sr Director of Meetings/Industry Affairs Stacey Leech Grassroots Manager Caroline Persinger Digital Media Specialist Nathan Penrod Assistant to the President & CEO Tomeika Slappy ACA Connects Headquarters: 7 Parkway Center Suite #755 Pittsburgh, PA 15220 412.922.8300

Industry News

Small Broadband Providers’ Next Challenge: The Return of Big Government By Matthew M. Polka ACA Connects President and CEO


ike you, I receive a lot of email. My inbox is teeming with communications from you and from others vital to your interests. Most of these are about our core mission – making sure that the laws and regulations in effect today or that might be in the works serve your interests. Over the next two years at least, I expect my email flow to look like a fire hose. Please don’t ignore you own inbox because you will be hearing quite a bit from ACA Connects. Today’s Washington, D.C., is expected to take a much more regulatory approach toward overseeing the broadband market than what we’ve seen in recent years. We expect to witness government determined to intervene in the broadband market to fill deployment and adoption gaps, and, Matt Polka in the process perhaps remake the market in significant ways. Just for starters, the Biden Administration has proposed that Congress spend $100 billion on broadband by extending service availability in unserved rural America and by increasing consumer adoption in areas where the service is available today. ACA Connects supports the overall aim to close the digital divide, but the details matter, and most of all, any new legislation or regulation must maintain the pro-investment policies that have ensured consumers across the country have had robust and reliable broadband connectivity during the pandemic. At the Federal Communications Commission, we expect the agency later this year or next to once again reclassify broadband ISPs as common carriers under Title II of the Communications Act, even though ISPs have demonstrated over the past four years that they have no incentive or ability to harm either edge providers or consumers. ACA Connects members can live with baseline open internet policies. After all, they have never blocked or degraded Internet traffic. But, living with century-old common carrier regulation makes no sense in an open and competitive market where consumers are hungry for even greater broadband capabilities and performance. We intend to fight for your interests as the FCC seeks to reverse its successful deregulatory policy. Meanwhile, I’m pleased to report that more than 100 ACA Connects Members have expressed interest in and completed necessary steps to join the FCC’s Emergency Broadband Benefit Program. A short-term, stopgap measure enacted by Congress, the FCC’s EBB Program is a $3.2 Billion broadband subsidy program that will connect eligible households with free or discounted broadband service during COVID-19. In addition, the FCC has launched the Emergency Connectivity Fund, which provides $7.2 billion to eligible schools (K-12) and libraries for the purchase of advanced telecommunications and information services and eligible equipment (namely, Wi-Fi hotspots, modems/routers, laptops/tablets) for use by students, school staff, and library patrons for remote learning. In comments, ACA Connects has urged the FCC to rely on existing providers to meet the connectivity and associated device needs for remote learning; require schools and libraries to allow all existing providers to participate in the program; and give existing providers that already connect to in-need households a right of first refusal to provide the qualifying service. As you can see, your broadband business is at the top of the policy agenda in Washington, D.C. Lawmakers and regulators see problems that they want to address with new money and regulations. Because the opportunities and potential for harm are significant, ACA Connects will be unrelenting in sharing its views in a real and material fashion that helps address these programs while preserving the incentives for investment and entrepreneurial activity. We promise to keep you posted. Just keep an eye on your inbox.

Independent Communications News


Industry News

Broadband Funding: Friend or Foe? By Ted Hearn, ACA Connects VP of Communications

Broadband in all its forms is getting attention in Washington, D.C., like never before. President Biden has a proposal that includes $100 billion to ensure all Americans have access to broadband and can afford it. Biden’s plan comes on the heels of recently passed federal legislation that earmarked more than $40 billion for various broadband initiatives. Here’s the rundown: Last December, the FCC provisionally awarded $9.2 billion to provide high-speed broadband Internet service to 5.22 million unserved homes and businesses under the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF).

Ted Hearn

Another $11.2 billion is going to be made available at some point under the RDOF to extend broadband to even more Americans through a second phase of that initiative. Coupled with that is the new FCC program that includes $3.2 billion to subsidize Internet service for lowincome Americans and $7.1 billion to support Internet connections for students. Further out, the FCC is slated to dole out $9 billion over the next decade to promote 5G in rural America in addition to another $1.9 billion for carriers to secure their infrastructure. The price tag for all those broadband programs? $41.6 billion As FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr, Republican, pointed out in a recent article: “So how much of this funding has gone out the door? None. Not one penny from this $40 billion tranche has been spent.” Like ACA Connects, Commissioner Carr is worried that with so much money sloshing around, bad outcomes are inevitable, now and in the future. “Overbuilding existing networks with taxpayer dollars does nothing to connect the millions of Americans that live in communities with no Internet service today. They should be our priority,” Carr wrote in the online newssite The Hill. ACA Connects Member Tongue River Communications knows exactly what Carr is talking about. A family-owned traditional video and broadband provider, Wyoming-based Tongue River is fighting an effort by the state of Wyoming to use federal CARES ACT money to fund a broadband overbuilder. Robert Jacobson and his wife Lynda, who started Tongue River in 1979, are terribly worried the decision by the Wyoming Business Council to award $1.1 million in ConnectWyoming program money to Visionary Communication could put them out of business -- even though Tongue River provides broadband at speeds that exceed the FCC’s definition of broadband in both directions. _ Continued on page 5 4

Robert Jacobson and wife Lynda Jacobson

April 2021 - Issue 1

Industry News

Robert and wife Lynda (front row, far right) with the Jacobson family.

The plight of the Jacobsons and Tongue River caught the attention of then-FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly, who was an outspoken critic of government-funded overbuilding because it hurt companies like Tongue River and reduced the amount of funds available for truly unserved areas. Commissioner O’Rielly posted a Tweet apologizing to the Jacobson family and followed that by sending a letter to Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon requesting that the Wyoming Business Council “release coverage maps for awarded projects, enable existing providers to challenge any duplicative projects, and halt any funding for projects that will result in subsidized overbuilding.” Unfortunately, Commissioner O’Rielly left office last December. There have been other reports of government-funded broadband overbuilding. Justin Forde, Senior Director of Government Relations at Midcontinent Communications, testified in March before a U.S. Senate Committee that Midco was overbuilt with tax dollars in Mitchell and Yankton, South Dakota. In Yankton, government dollars were used by a fiber company to overbuild two existing providers. Federal support for broadband can do wonderful things, including extending service to homes, businesses and anchor institutions that never had it. But it’s also true that reckless spending can impose harms that are unacceptable. There needs to be accountability for those who are responsible and compensation for those who have been injured.

Independent Communications News


Industry News

Embracing the Evolution of Video for Long Term Success By Scott Meyer


he move to streaming and app-based video services is a key trend for service providers to embrace. Those that do are building a foundation for long-term success. According to market research firm Parks Associates, over 67% of U.S. broadband homes own and use an Internet connected streaming device. Additionally, Parks reports that 20% of all video consumption hours now take place on a smartphone or tablet among all heads of U.S. broadband households, a number that grows to 40% among Gen Z households. These trends are likely to accelerate.

Scott Meyer

Systems A key strategy for service providers is to recognize these trends and get on a path toward Innovative Marketing Director making their pay-TV service reachable through these streaming and mobile devices. In so doing, service providers are reaching consumers who prefer this app-based streaming approach for video consumption. Indeed, the key to long-term success in the video business today is to offer a pay-TV product that embraces the shifting nature of video consumption habits, while also delivering a core pay-TV product that is feature rich with key desirable applications such as cloud-DVR, Restart TV, and a modern, intuitive on-screen program guide. It’s not an all-or-nothing proposition as it is often framed. It’s a choice proposition, specifically, providing choice and options that match consumer behavior.

The desire for local content also drives consumer behavior, as research from market research firm TDG reveals. Among cord-cutting households that have embraced a vMVPD service such as Sling or YouTube TV, almost one-quarter maintained a separate traditional pay-TV service to retain access to local broadcast channels.

Multi-Generation TV Solution from Innovative Systems

Changing video consumption habits that impact the video business are nothing new. Ongoing change has remained constant since the introduction of cable TV over seven decades ago. Whether it was the introduction of the VCR, competition from DBS, or the embrace of VOD, service providers have always _ Continued on page 7


April 2021 - Issue 1

Industry News evolved to meet the challenge. Embracing change and acting accordingly are what is required today. Service providers have the tools necessary to offer subscribers what they want, whatever that might be. Not all consumers will ditch pay-TV for streaming alternatives. But absent a feature-rich streaming option that delivers a compelling mix of national and local content, some, maybe many, will think they have no other choice, and will choose to cut the cord. Service providers should build solutions that don’t require consumers to make a choice. Give them the reason to stay.

help them meet the challenge of an evolving video marketplace and thrive in whatever conditions exist. With our Multi Generation TV (MG-TV) platform, Innovative Systems delivers the flexibility needed to serve all subscribers, regardless of their video consumption preferences. Powered by our InnoStream™ platform, MG-TV can enable streaming of both national cable channels and local broadcast channels to the devices of a customer’s choice, including mobile devices, and to traditional managed STBs. Visit

Innovative Systems stands with our customer partners and will continue to deliver solutions that

ACTION BRIEF Here’s an ACA Connects publication you don’t want to miss! It’s the ACAction Brief, which is produced for, and distributed to, ACA Connects Members and Associate Members every two weeks. The ACAction Brief is a digital product sent via email and packed with lots of great information. It includes Key Developments, which offer ACAC press releases and statements. It also has Member Advisories and notifications on ACAC-sponsored Webinars. The ACAction Brief also provides the ACAC legal community with a regulatory update from Cinnamon Mueller. You’ll also find lively blogs written by ACAC staff and Members.

If you want to subscribe, just send us your email address at!

Fast-paced and informative, the ACAction Brief has everything I need to stay current on the key legal and regulatory issues facing my company. I urge you to sign up today. You will not be disappointed. ACA Connects Vice Chairman Mike Bowker, COO of Cable One in Phoenix, Arizona

Industry News

NCI, the smart headend RF signal management solution Broadband technology provider Technetix vastly improves DOCSIS 3.1 headend launch signal quality management solution By Brenda Stottler and Gerrit Boskaljon


echnetix narrowcast combining insertion (NCI) is a proven headend solution which significantly improves signal launch quality in DOCSIS 3.1 headends. DOCSIS 3.1 uses high level modulation schemes that require high-signal combining RF isolation due to modulator-to-modulator interaction intermodulation distortion. This isolation issue was recognized when the CCAP standard was defined and, as a result, the standard specified 70 dB port-to-port isolation when connected to CCAP devices. Existing legacy passive headend combining systems using passive splitters and directional couplers are not capable of meeting CCAP isolation requirements. Some operators have continued to use them but have suffered severely reduced launch signal quality. The quality improvement in a NCI headend allows an N+4 HFC network, for instance, to achieve the end of line MER of a N+2 network at much reduced cost. These high-isolation issues are addressed in NCI without compromising headend power consumption, heat dissipation or rack space. Furthermore, NCI due to its high-isolation performance doesn’t need the port management performed in the past with passive combiners. Passive combiners require careful port management of modulator wiring to avoid adjacent channel interference.

Brenda Stottler Technetix Sales & Marketing Director, North America

Next-generation CCAP compliant combining Boskaljon Active combining is the superior future-proof solution able to handle DOCSIS 3.0, DOCSIS Gerrit Technetix Technical Director 3.1 and CCAP. The compact, CCAP compliant NCI solution from Technetix is the smart Headend choice to overcome the challenges described. Available up to 1.2 GHz, the system provides a flexible, scalable and remotely managed solution to support changing network requirements over time. The remote management can be used locally from the headend control console or from a remote site using a laptop, tablet or mobile device. The NCI solution replaces legacy vendor equipment in the headend while offering scalability to meet future needs – providing a stepped approach to capital expenditure over time.

Features of the NCI solution • Easy installation, saving time and cost. • System scalability enables service upgrades in a gradual, controlled way. • Compact high-density design to optimize space in the headend and hub sites. • Local or remote system control from computer, tablet or phone simplifies network management. • Software remote control saves journeys to remote locations, reducing the technician’s carbon footprint. • Real-time adjustments eliminate the need for nightshift work and prevents service disruptions. • Built-in monitoring generates alarms (SNMP traps). • Integrated controller software. • Modular system design renders the solution headend/field upgradable to 1.2 GHz • The use of high-quality ferrites in all combiners ensures very low passive intermodulation supporting DOCSIS 3.1 and channel bonding. _ Continued on page 9


April 2021 - Issue 1

Industry News The NCI can be customized to meet the needs of MSOs of all sizes. Product compliances cover all international standards. Technetix works in partnership with broadband cable network operators. Technetix through its 31 years of experience in cable networks truly understands operators needs. Our access 1.2 GHz Narrowcast Insertion Solution The future of narrowcast insertion Next generation, CCAP compliant RF combining network solutions enhance signal quality, reducing operator callouts and minimizing maintenance costs. Our connected home solutions enable high quality signals to be received at multiple points within a home, reducing or eliminating operator installation and maintenance costs.

For further information email:

AMP - UP 2021!


ere at ACA Connects, we consider our industry’s vendors valuable partners to our organization and our Members. Associate Membership has existed for many years but we are proud to announce that we have redesigned and relaunched the program for 2021!


We understand that each vendor has different goals, budgets and initiatives and those things change year to year. Our goal was to design a program that offered different tiers of membership so that each vendor could find one that best works for its company. Our three membership levels – Gold, Silver and Bronze - each come with their own benefits and opportunities for sponsorships throughout the year, including vendor-hosted webinars, banner ads in our digital publications and even article submissions to ICN! All of the details on the new program can be found under the AMP21 tab on our website at Here you will find the different benefits, pricing and available sponsorships for each level. Already decided on the level that works for your company? Simply select “Become an Associate Member” to access the online application and secure payment portal! To schedule a call to further discuss the program levels, benefits and sponsorship opportunities available, please contact Stacey Leech, Senior Director of Meetings & Industry Affairs at Independent Communications News


Industry News

UP, UP…. and [SAVE] AWAY! By Von McConnell, NCTI


n the wireless industry the use of drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), has grown significantly over the last few years. UAVs are being used for pre-construction, maintenance, temporary service, RF optimization, asset tracking, etc. They save companies a great deal of money because they reduce the manual time spent on many simple tasks and functions normally performed by technicians on the ground. In general, drones do not require a lot of specialized training and their autonomous design makes them easy to operate. Also, most drones are reasonably priced, ranging anywhere between $300 to $ 5,000, which provides an excellent return on investment! For technicians, drones allow them to visualize/ interpret data and RF signals beyond the traditional line-of-sight methods. Often, companies may use simple manual data collection methods, such as cameras and smartphone apps, or utilize more highly specialized software packages and analyzers to be more cutting edge and accurate about radio signal quality interference and coverage. However, one point that is often overlooked in RF performance measurement is how RF is impacted differently per exact spatial location. With a drone’s “view in 3D” capability and its capacity to pinpoint precisely where RF lobe/beam issues occur in free


space, adjustment and quality might even be better. The drone control can be undertaken in First Person View (FPV) up to about 1,000 feet from the actual tower or an McConnell investigated site, or via Remote Von NCTI Person View (RPV) up to two or three miles away. Drones can use onboard radios to collect and send data in real time to the operator(s) or a more centralized collection/operations site. It can be quickly analyzed, and solutions put forward in minutes, as opposed to the older data collection methods. Moreover, drone and specialized RF software tools can allow for a more standardized and detailed means of data collection methods, leading to a better and deeper understanding of trend patterns over time. Drones are fun to operate but they have also evolved into a serious tool for the everyday field operations technician by allowing them to not only fix problems but understand issues faster. Many in the industry claim that drones can save as much as 50% of costs on some manual research currently performed by technicians. The drone industry is evolving to make drone usage almost automated by including AI-based controls, and means of RF _ Continued on page 11

April 2021 - Issue 1

Industry News measurements and response, to reduce costs, be easier to operate, and collect data quicker. Lastly, should you decide to employ drones in the field, it is important to follow the FAA guidelines for drone usage and turn on the return-to-home function (RTH) so your investments do not fly away!

Von McConnell is an industry veteran and a former executive with major corporations as well as smaller companies around the world. He specializes in R&D, system design and development, and deployment and maintenance. Von holds numerous degrees and patents and works with NCTI to help its clients understand the various technologies. Contact Information: Von McConnell (913) 271-1370

DAILY MEDIA SWEEP There isn’t a publication -- print or digital -- that covers the unique concerns of ACA Connects Members on a daily or even weekly basis. But ACA Connects fills that void with distribution of its Daily Media Sweep, edited by ACAC VP of Communications Ted Hearn. Filled with a smart collection of articles, charts, Tweets and news from ACA Connects, the Daily Media Sweep is designed to inform the people who operate America’s independent video and broadband networks. Although the Daily Media Sweep is a quick read on any device for the time-constrained reader, it also offers the ability to dig beneath the surface by calling up full stories and linked documents, such as FCC filings, legal briefs and court decisions.

If you want to subscribe, just send us your email address at!

I surely love our cattle, but even they don’t get fed in the mornin’ until I have had my “Coffee with Ted” and have read the ACA Connects Daily Media Sweep! It’s just that important! Please subscribe NOW!! ACA Connects Chairman Patricia Jo Boyers, President of BOYCOM Vision in Poplar Bluff, Mo.

Industry News

A Year of Heroism, Innovation and the Maverick Spirit By Kathleen Finch, Chief Lifestyle Officer, Discovery, Inc.


s the world slowly emerges from the depths of the pandemic, it is a good time to reflect on some of the lessons learned and how they prepare us for the future. The cable industry has always been defined by a maverick spirit. Over the past decades, we’ve all had to continuously evolve in the face of new technologies, competition and consumer demands. But nothing prepared us for the pandemic. Over the course of just a few short weeks we all had to reinvent virtually every part of how we operate - while at the same time staring at an economic hole with no clear bottom. Across the industry, the core strengths of our companies were tested and revealed.

Kathleen Finch Chief Lifestyle Officer Discovery, Inc.

At Discovery, our 10,000 plus people rallied together. Within days of our transition to remote work, we were holding global town halls that virtually connected our people from all over the world in a joint conversation from kitchen tables and home offices. We were determined to continue to produce great new content and not rely upon re-runs, so we sent iPhones, GoPro cameras and tripods to the homes of our personalities and called upon them to reimagine their shows. Tapping a wellspring of creativity, they shot thousands of hours of programming from their kitchens, living rooms, and gardens. The result wasn’t just good - it was memorable. It was Ina Garten in the depths of the first national lockdown making a Cosmopolitan the size of a fishbowl, perfectly capturing the zeitgeist of the moment and going viral in the process. It was Amy Schumer being taught how to cook by her chef husband (and getting honored with an Emmy nomination for it) or Ree Drummond’s self-shooting set-up that had her kids leaning in to help. At HGTV, watching and commenting on House Hunters got a fun, new twist when comedians Dan Levy and Natasha Leggero along with their friends -- Whitney Cummings, Eliot Glazer, John Mulaney, Chris Redd and J.B. Smoove -- called out the victories and defeats caused by paint colors, granite countertops, stainless steel appliances and open concept spaces via videoconference. ID made a personal connection with fans, early in lockdown, when it launched its first virtual IDCON, zooming hosts and experts directly into viewers’ homes. The first virtual event in May 2020 reached 21k true crime afficionados and the follow up event in February 2021 grew to more than 56k fans. At TLC we delivered 90 Day: Self Quarantined where we checked in with couples and individuals from the series to learn how their lives were being impacted by COVID-19. We even remotely produced a Before the 90 Day Reunion Tell All for the first time and while it felt and looked different, it was #1 in its time slot. Of course, our stories are no different from those of businesses across our industry. We are all aware of and grateful for the heroic efforts of network engineers, technicians and field teams keeping vital broadband services up and running in the face of a historic demand surge. We salute the customer service teams providing support for worried customers for whom their cable service was a true lifeline. And, of course, we recognize that all these efforts take place at a time of unprecedented change in our industry. _ Continued on page 13


April 2021 - Issue 1

Industry News The lesson we take from this is that the cable ecosystem is resilient. While the scale of change we now face is perhaps greater than ever before, fundamentally this industry has always thrived by understanding and adapting to ever-shifting consumer needs. At Discovery, we have learned that, if required, we can reinvent ourselves literally overnight. We know many in the industry have learned the same. Looking ahead, we have the chance to work together (with a bit more time than the pandemic gave us) to collaborate on the next great reinventions which will, together, set the stage for another successful era for us all. Visit

Fiber Connect is North America’s premier fiber broadband conference where the entire fiber ecosystem comes together for a common goal of accelerating fiber broadband deployments to all homes and businesses across North America. With more than 85% of RDOF funding dedicated to Gigabit broadband networks, it is a critical time for the fiber investment cycle and in-person conference attendees will hear from leading experts, policy makers, regulators, operators, OEMs, and engineering firms as they discuss the challenges and opportunities of today’s market. Fiber Connect 2021 will be held July 25-28 at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessee.


ACA Connects Members:

You are eligible for a 20% discount code to Fiber Connect 2021 conference & exhibition, the premier North American fiber broadband industry event. Online Registration is available here. Use the Discount Code “ACA” when prompted at the Payment Summary tab to take advantage of the discount. Your registration fee will be automatically adjusted.

Independent Communications News


Press Release More Than 100 ACA Connects Member Companies Seek to Participate in the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program From Day One Smaller Companies Passing Well More than 10 Million Homes With Robust High-Speed Broadband Preparing to Help Consumers in Need By Ted Hearn, ACA Connects VP of Communications

PITTSBURGH, March 25, 2021 – A large contingent of ACA Connects member companies is on track to participate in the Federal Communications Commission’s Emergency Broadband Benefit Program from the day it launches. More than 100 members have expressed interest and completed necessary steps to join the program. Collectively, these providers pass more than 10 million homes in total, representing the vast majority of homes passed by all ACA Connects members. In nearly all cases, these providers have networks capable of offering service of at least 100/20 Mbps, and all can offer at least 25/3 Mbps. “The significant number of our member companies gearing up for the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program is not surprising given the great work they have already done to help their customers and their communities throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” said ACA Connects President and CEO Matthew M. Polka. “Their participation in this new program will allow them to greatly expand upon these efforts. Consumers should know, more help is on the way.” The Emergency Broadband Benefit Program is a $3.2 Billion broadband subsidy program that will connect eligible households with free or discounted broadband service during COVID-19. “In these extraordinary times, struggling households need robust broadband service that can meet enhanced connectivity needs — for online learning, telehealth, and more. ACA Connects members have deployed highspeed, reliable networks that are up to the task,” said ACA Connects Chairman Patty Boyers of BOYCOM Vision in Poplar Bluff, Mo. “ACA Connects members, like mine, are eager to participate in this new program and to promote awareness of the benefit to eligible households in our communities.” “ACA Connects thanks the FCC for streamlining both its application process for non-ETCs and USAC’s election notice process,” Chairman Boyers added. “By reducing the barriers to entry, the FCC has flung open the doors for experienced, smaller operators with robust networks to participate. Too often, such providers like my company are locked out of government programs because of onerous regulatory and paperwork burdens. But the strong interest in the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program from ACA Connects members is a testament to acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel’s leadership and to the FCC’s bipartisan efforts to develop sound rules for this new program.” ACA Connects members that have sought FCC approval to participate in the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program or submitted USAC election notices include those listed on our website.


April 2021 - Issue 1

Industry News

What Digital Buyers Need to Know About Linear TV By John Piccone, President QTT, a division of Viamedia


here is a whole new generation of advertising buyers and sellers who have fallen in love with the features of advertising technology without understanding the marketing objectives that drive media decisions.

To the digital buyer, critical metrics of success live in the headers of their analytics reports which represent bottom funnel metrics. Absent are traditional building block metrics that live in media mix modeling that have guided marketer’s media decisions for decades. John Piccone

Nowhere is this more apparent than video advertising. Today a marketer can place its video President QTT advertising in many places: Linear TV, Connected TV, Desktop, Mobile and Digital Out A Division of Viamedia of Home. But for decades, the lion’s share of video advertising share has gone to linear TV. Why is that? Simple… TV Advertising Works

And advertisers know TV works. They may not have real time dynamic ad serving reporting, but decades of trial and error have shown TV works and as time passes the linear TV attribution game is only getting better. Correlations based on ad occurrence and website or mobile traffic generates millions of data points to give marketers even better insights on the value of TV. Measurement Favors the TV Advertiser A viewer must watch an average of 5 minutes of the TV program to be counted, even though many more people sample a TV show. Compare that to an online video ad that needs to be visible for only 2 seconds. TV’s pricing can’t be beat. Marketers have relied on Nielsen’s household sample to measure television viewership for decades. Most linear buys are against a broad demo group (Adults 25-54, Women 18+, etc) These Nielsen demos are priced by the sellers based on demand, supply and historical rate cards. This is no different if a digital buyer wants to buy a broad demo on YouTube or CTV. However, the key difference is that on TV you pay only for those audiences in that purchased demo. So due to the “spill” nature of TV the advertiser also gets everyone else who watch its ads, for free. Whereas with online video, thanks to dynamic ad serving only the purchased target audience sees the ad. If we run the advertising math, a TV Demo CPM of $20 on TV is actually a tiny fraction of that when you factor all the people who saw the ad. And for marketers who are building a brand, every eyeball counts. On the other hand, digital video CPMs remains static, or actually increase in the case of fraud or bot traffic. Are there many benefits that digital video advertising offers that TV cannot? Of course. But it’s still clear that the cost of media, coupled with the advertiser-friendly measurement standards, is very hard to beat TV. Inevitably the linear and digital worlds will collide. Marketers can now buy TV programmatically when it meets both buyer and seller objectives. Spoils will go to those who can understand linear and digital measurement and pricing metrics. Visit

Independent Communications News


Resources ACAC Website Resource Pages ACA Connects has launched three resource pages to provide its members with convenient access to member advisories, webinar replays, and other information on these important topics: • C-Band Transition – This major transition has kicked into high gear. Check this page for the latest updates and resources to assist in your planning. • Emergency Broadband Benefit Program – Learn the latest from the FCC and USAC on how to participate in this new program. You can also find replays of ACA Connects’ five webinars on the topic. • Robocalls – Find member advisories and other resources to help you stay on top of your obligations. The resource pages are located on the Member Lounge section of the ACA Connects website and are available exclusively to members.



City, State

May 9-12, 2021

WTA 2021 Spring Educational Forum

Indian Wells, CA

May 24-27, 2021

WSTA Annual Convention (Wisconsin State Telecom)

Lake Geneva, WI

June 10, 2021

Cablefax The FAXIES Awards


June 14-17, 2021

Telecommunications Assn of the Southeast Summer Symposium

Sandestin, FL

June 19-22, 2021

Georgia Telecommunications Association Annual Meeting

Lake Buena Vista, FL

July 14-15, 2021

NTCA Summer Symposium


July 25-28, 2021

Fiber Connect 2021

Nashville, TN

September 19-22, 2021

NTCA Fall Conference

Nashville, TN

September 20-22, 2021

CCA Annual Convention

Phoenix, AZ

September 20-21, 2021

CCSA Connect 2021

Mont Tremblant, QC

October 3-6, 2021

WTA 2021 Fall Educational Forum


October 3-8, 2021

Cable’s Diversity Week

New York City, NY

October 4-6, 2021

The Independent Show

Minneapolis, MN

October 9-13, 2021

NAB Show

Las Vegas, NV

October 11-13, 2021

WSTA Fall Conference (Wisconsin State Telecom)

Stevens Point, WI

October 11-14, 2021

SCTE*ISBE Cable-Tec Expo

Atlanta, GA

October 20, 2021

Cable Hall of Fame Celebration

New York City, NY

October 26-29, 2021

Calix ConneXions 2021


December 7, 2021

Cablefax Most Powerful Women Celebration


Events subject to change. Please refer to the corresponding website for the most updated information.


April 2021 - Issue 1

Unleash the Power of Limitless Connectivity! SPONSOR. ATTEND.EXHIBIT. Join us October 11-14, 2021 in Atlanta, GA. SCTE•ISBE Cable-Tec Expo®, the largest cable telecommunications and technology tradeshow in the Americas returns in Atlanta as a hybrid experience! Cable-Tec Expo 2021 is poised to transcend the phenomenal success

2021 Program Chair

of our 2020 virtual event with a learning and networking experience

Kevin Hart EVP, Chief Product & Technology Officer, Cox Communications

unparalleled in the cable industry. | #cabletecexpo

© Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers, Inc. a subsidiary of CableLabs 2021. •

Minneapolis, MN October 4-6, 2021

Attention ACA Connects and NCTC Members! Watch your inbox for some exciting news about The Independent Show!

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