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Cable at the Capitol 2017: Sine Die

The Texas Cable Association had significant wins to celebrate when the 85th legislative session drew to a close on Monday, May 29. TCA worked to successfully protect the cable industry from unnecessary regulation and fees, chiefly in the areas of small cell deployment and Texas universal service funds. In addition to these priority bills, TCA also successfully lobbied against impact fees for cable in special purpose districts, and right-of-way liability and fees. Privacy and cybercrimes were also high priorities this session.

Among the Texas Cable Association’s legislative successes:

  • Small cell legislation, Senate Bill 1004, now on its way to the governor, creates a new Section 284 in the Local Government Code to regulate deployment of small cell devices in the municipal right of way. The final version includes cable’s carefully negotiated language to protect cable providers from additional fees for right of way access, protects wireless access points, and ensures a level playing field for all entrants to the cable market place.
  • TCA monitored a few bills on universal service fund. The most important among these, Senate Bill 586, focused on reforming the small carrier fund, will create a “mini-rate case” process to determine need for funds. As filed, the bill would have increased the size of TUSF fund $23-$28 million with no sunset date. TCA lobbied against the increase. The final bill now holds the rate steady, and reduced potential fund increases by 90 percent, or approximately $2 million. The bill will sunset in 2023, when the PUC is up for review.
  • Privacy protection became a high priority mid-session. When the FCC announced in April that it would not implement Obama-era rules on ISP privacy, the states rushed to file legislation to protect customers’ private information. Rep. Rafael Anchia (D-Dallas) filed such an amendment to the appropriations bill, Senate Bill 1. TCA worked with Anchia to address his concerns, pledged to work on the issue in the interim, and prevented passage of the amendment.

For more detailed information on any of these bills, or any legislation tracked by TCA this session, please contact TCA at (512) 474-2082, or [email protected].

Altice Announces New Global Strategy: One Group, One Brand

Altice NV (Euronext: ATC, ATCB) today announces a new unified global strategy, representing a new step in the Group’s evolution to strengthen its industrial and operational platform. This follows Altice’s transformation into a leading transatlantic telecoms, content and advertising company serving more than 50 million customers around the world.

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C-SPAN & SPECTRUM Honored National Winners from Imagine International Academy of North Texas and Ozen High School in Beaumont

C‑SPAN and Spectrum visited Imagine International Academy of North Texas on May 2 and Ozen High School on May 3 to honor local winners for C‑SPAN’s annual student video documentary competition,StudentCam. During the visit, C‑SPAN Representatives presented a StudentCam certificate of merit to all 13 winning students during ceremonies in front of classmates, teachers and family members to recognize their achievement in the national competition.

StudentCam encourages middle and high school students to think critically about issues that affect our communities and nation. This year, students were asked to create a 5-7 minute video documentary about the topic, “Your Message to Washington: What is the most urgent issue for the new president and Congress to address in 2017?” In response, C‑SPAN received 2,903 video submissions from over 5,600 students in 46 states and Washington, D.C. One hundred fifty student and 53 teacher prizes were awarded, totaling $100,000 in prize money. Visit to watch all the winning videos.

“Spectrum is honored to partner with C-SPAN on their annual documentary contest, StudentCam, and we congratulate these local winners on their hard work and national achievement,” said Todd Baxter, Regional Vice President, Government Affairs.

In addition to C-SPAN & Spectrum representatives, a number of local elected officials joined to congratulate the students including Mayor Becky Ames of Beaumont, TX, Megan Pulley from Rep. Scott Sanford’s office and Megan Foreman from Congressman Sam Johnson’s office.

Hallmark Channel Top May Programs

GOOD WITCH 3002: “WITHOUT MAGIC FOR A SPELL” (2017) – Prime Time Series airs on Sundays
Sunday, 5/7
8pm – 9pm CST
The Middleton Merriwick is still not in bloom, and the effects are being felt around town; an old friend and colleague of Abigail’s checks into Grey House claiming to want a relationship; with help from Cassie, Ben stumbles upon the old Middleton Theater and is motivated to get the place running again.
Stars Catherine Bell, James Denton and Bailee Madison.
Saturday, 5/20
8pm – 10pm CST
A modern retelling of “My Fair Lady.”  Harper Higgins is determined to land a tenured position at Boston Art College, and she’s counting on curating a big art gallery at the university to do so.  But when she loses her showcase artist and can find no one else, she turns to her recently-hired dog walker Tom Stone who, unbeknownst to anyone, is a skilled painter. 
Stars Taylor Cole and Steve Lund.
Saturday, 5/27
8pm – 10pm  CST
When an engaged romance novelist is teamed with a Navy SEAL as research for her book “Special Ops,” she is taken aback by his boisterous personality and seemingly egotistical nature. However, as she gets to know the SEAL, she has a change of heart and must choose between her editor fiancé, and the real life embodiment of her fictional hero.
Stars Sara Rue, Steve Bacic and Teryl Rothery.
Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Programs:
Sunday, 5/32
8pm – 10pm CST
Aurora Teagarden and her boyfriend Martin are thrilled when they get an unexpected visit from his niece and her new baby. Their excitement is short lived when his niece disappears and the baby is left behind. Once again, Aurora finds herself drawn into a deadly investigation as she risks it all to help Martin reunite with his family.
Stars Candace Cameron Bure and Marilu Henner.

Cable’s Impact on Texas and the U.S.

Just as impressive as cable’s entertainment, education and technology offerings are the industry’s contributions to the Texas and U.S. economy.

A new report shows that in 2016, Texas’ primary operators – Altice USA/Suddenlink, Charter/Spectrum, Comcast/Xfinity and Vyve – generated 151,527 direct and indirect jobs, employed 16,614 and had a total economic impact of $22.5 billion.

In addition, the report recognized cable’s advancements and investments in technology.

The updated report from Bortz Media & Sports Group, Inc., shows that cable’s impact on the economy and on how we get our information and entertainment has grown and transformed significantly in recent years.

In Texas alone, 2016 impact totals show that cable operators have added almost 40,000 direct and indirect jobs and increased its total economic impact by $6.6 billion just since 2010.

This year’s report found, “Through its aggressive re-investment of capital and its efforts to deploy new and innovative services to consumers, the cable operator industry has fostered the development of a highly competitive telecommunications market and has been a catalyst for broadband growth in the U.S. Through these investment and innovation initiatives, the industry has exerted a substantial impact on the United States economy.”

Key national economic findings for 2016:

  • Total industry impact: $421 billion.
  • Total jobs: 2.9 million – since more than 1 million jobs were added in the past decade.
  • More than 1 million jobs added by the cable industry in the last decade.
  • At least 300 cable employees work in each of the country’s 435 congressional districts.
  • Cash and in-kind charitable donations: More than $1 billion.
  • Franchise and other customer-related fees paid by cable operators: $3.5 billion – funds paid directly to local municipalities
  • Sales and use taxes associated with cable subscriptions: Over $4.2 billion – revenues to state and local government entities.

In addition, the report recognized cable’s advancements and investments in technology.


The number of cable customers with DVRS has more than doubled since 2007, totaling more than 22 million cable customers or 44 percent of cable homes in 2016

TV Everywhere

TV Everywhere allows cable subscribers to access TV programming at home or on-the-go across multiple platforms such as computers, tablets and smartphones. In 2016, an estimated 5.4 billion programming views took place on these alternative devices – up from 2.1 billion in 2014.


The report found, “the cable industry’s commitment has led to U.S. broadband service that is among the fastest, most affordable and most widely available in the world.” More than 93 percent of U.S. homes have access to cable’s internet service, and residents in every state enjoy average peak connection speeds over 50Mbps.

“By taking the lead in making broadband widely available … the cable industry has maintained its leadership in the delivery of high-speed internet service and increased its customer base by a factor of five over the past 14 years,” the report states.

Digital Phone

The number of digital phone customers served by the cable industry has grown from just over 2.5 million at the end of 2002 to almost 32 million at year-end 2016.

April Programming Highlights

Angie Tribeca

Season 3 premieres Monday April 10
From the twisted minds of Nancy and Steve Carell, this is the cop show you never knew you were waiting for. Lone-wolf detective Angie Tribeca (Rashida Jones) and a squad of committed LAPD detectives investigate the most serious cases, from the murder of a ventriloquist to a rash of baker suicides.

Soundtracks: Songs that Made History on CNN
Premieres April 21
This eight-part CNN Original Series explores the music tied to iconic moments in history, from the March on Washington to the riots at Stonewall, to the moon landing to Hurricane Katrina.



WORLD PREMIERE – The Kennedys-After Camelot two-hour premiere on Sunday, April 2 at 8pm CT with “Family Bonds”.
Following the assassination of Bobby Kennedy, Jackie marries Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis. Ted Kennedy is pressured to run for president but the family is shaken to its core after Ted’s car accident at Chappaquiddick. Jackie returns from Greece to help the Kennedys only to find herself drawn into their attempt to save Ted’s career. The Kennedys-After Camelot stars Katie Holmes as Jackie Kennedy Onassis, Matthew Perry as Ted Kennedy and Alexander Siddig as Aristotle Onassis. Kristen Hager stars as Joan Kennedy, Brett Donahue stars as John F. Kennedy Jr. with Diana Hardcastle and Kristin Booth reprising their roles as Rose and Ethel Kennedy from the Emmy Award®-winning miniseries The Kennedys.

The original The Kennedys miniseries returns on Saturday, April 1 with Episodes 1-4 airing back to back on Saturday, April 1 starting at 12pm CT. Episodes 5-8 will air back to back on Sunday, April 2 starting at 12pm CT.
The Kennedys relives the public and private joys and tragedies of the most influential family in the world including fraternal rivalries, mob associations, the drugs and the women. Boasting an all-star cast led by Emmy®-nominee Greg Kinnear as John F. Kennedy (JFK) and Barry Pepper who won the Emmy Award for Lead Actor in a Mini-Series or Movie for his portrayal of Robert F. Kennedy, The Kennedys also features powerful performances from Katie Holmes as Jacqueline Kennedy and Emmy-nominated Tom Wilkinson OBE as Joseph Kennedy, Sr.

NEW EPISODE- Autopsy: The Last Hours of John Denver on Saturday, April 1 at 7pm CT.
John Denver was a legendary singer songwriter whose talent for writing and performing hit singles made him a global superstar. From “Country Roads” to “Rocky Mountain High” to “Annie’s Song” by the mid-70s he was one of America’s biggest selling artists. He wrote around 200 songs and sold more than 35 million albums. But on the afternoon of the October 12, 1997, experienced pilot John Denver crashed his plane into the Pacific Ocean. This unexplained disaster fueled rumor and speculation and the investigation was fraught with difficulties as only fragments of John Denver’s plane and parts of his body were recovered from the sea. Now renowned forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Hunter is reopening the case into John Denver’s mysterious death.

NEW EPISODE- Collision Couse: John Denver on Saturday, April 1 at 8pm CT.
On a sunny October day in 1997 music legend John Denver hopped into a small and sleek aircraft to go for a pleasure flight off the California coast. After his aircraft suddenly and mysteriously crashes into the Pacific Ocean some suspected the singer may have committed suicide or given his history of DUI’s he may have been intoxicated. The last man to see Denver alive gives his first-ever TV interview and recalls Denver in the minutes before he died – a personal and detailed account that has never been told. It’s revealed that Denver was neither drunk nor suicidal – the shocking cause of the accident comes down to a tiny mechanical detail that took the life of one of the world’s first celebrity activists.

Earth Day is April 22: Cable’s Energy Efficiency Pledge

The cable industry is committed to being a green, environmentally friendly industry not just on Earth Day (April 22), but year-round. From paperless billing to programmable thermostats to energy efficient set-top boxes, the cable industry is recognized as an environmentally friendly one, especially in the area of energy efficiency.

It’s been almost five years since NCTA (now NCTA – The Internet & Television Association), the Consumer Technology Association, the pay-TV industry, energy efficiency advocates and device manufacturers signed a voluntary agreement to drastically improve the energy efficiency of set-top boxes.

In those years, technology and electronics have changed drastically. Cable companies are now offering whole-house services, such as security devices and programmable thermostats, and multi-room DVRs and streaming devices and services have broadened entertainment options. But along with the technology innovations have come energy savings – even in old-standby devices. For example, new DVRs use 33 percent less energy compared to models from just two years ago.

The 2012 energy efficiency agreement was honored in 2016 by Environmental Leader, a daily trade publication that covers energy and environmental news, as its Project of the Year. In announcing the award, judges lauded the initiative for significantly reducing the industry’s impact on the environment by avoiding millions of tons of carbon dioxide emissions, all while saving consumers more than $1 billion in electricity costs.

Innovation – whether in energy usage or new services and gadgets – is the hallmark of the U.S. cable industry.

Cable Connects You to the Capitol

Interested in a Texas legislative committee hearing, or floor debate on a specific bill? You don’t have to travel to Austin to watch the process at work.

Thanks to the Internet, anyone can watch livestreamed committee hearings, press conferences and floor debate in the Texas House or the Texas Senate from the comfort of their home or on-the-go. Some Spectrum customers in the Austin area can tune in to Texas House and Senate proceedings via cable television, while subscribers in the Austin and San Antonio markets can tune into Capital Tonight, a 30-minute daily political show that focuses on issues that impact Texans’ lives.

Online communication also helps Texans stay connected with their elected officials, from email to social media. Many state legislators have Twitter accounts.

A recent Washington Post article recognized the role that the Internet is playing in civic involvement, noting that more than 135,000 people tuned in to audio-only proceedings on YouTube to listen to a federal appeals court deliberate over President Trump’s immigrant entry ban. Others were watching the proceedings livestream on Facebook and other sources.

And how about the 1,600-mile, 30-plus hour “bipartisan road trip” that two Texas congressman took in March, driving from San Antonio to Washington, D.C. Almost the entire trip was livestreamed on Facebook Live and Periscope, and U.S. Reps Beto O’Rourke and Will Hurd took viewer questions and debated policy during what they billed “a live cross-country, bipartisan congressional town hall.” The two-day online drive drew tens of thousands of viewers and hundreds of comments.

“That showed the power of social media, of livestreaming an event,” said one political scientist. “It gave people a view of Congress we’ve never really seen before.”

As the Washington Post article stated, “in today’s digitally connected world, the best technologies make accessible what was previously inaccessible.”