PITTSBURGH, February 9, 2009 -- The American Cable Association (ACA) and its more than 900 members nationwide are the key to delivering higher speed Internet access to millions of Americans in smaller markets and rural areas. In separate letters to Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) (available here) and Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) (available here), ACA has urged lawmakers to make federal assistance available to cable providers as part of the economic stimulus package pending in Congress to deliver faster broadband service in these communities.
With minimal investment, the federal government can bring faster broadband speeds to thousands of smaller markets and rural areas across the country. By making grants and loans accessible to local operators to build higher-capacity connections to the national fiber network, broadband speed would be increased by as much as 10 times. Operators in these areas have the infrastructure in place to offer faster broadband speeds right now, but cannot maximize their systems’ capabilities because they cannot afford to connect to the Internet backbone which runs past rather than through their communities. As a result, these broadband providers must connect to the national fiber network through existing lower-capacity connections, such as T1 lines, which slow speeds for their users.
“Small and medium-sized cable operators are ready and able to provide faster Internet speeds into smaller markets and rural areas,” said ACA President and CEO Matthew M. Polka. “With government assistance, these broadband providers could pull the trigger on thousands of shovel-ready projects over the next 18 months that would create new jobs in this economy, and provide Main Street America faster Internet speeds. Building higher capacity backhaul connections to the national fiber network is an open and technology-neutral solution that will keep smaller markets connected to the world around them.
Polka continued, “connections to the Internet backbone with higher-speed throughputs will be invaluable to local schools, hospitals, businesses and government. Connecting high-capacity pipes to these communities would enable them to deliver needed services, such as distance learning and tele-medicine, and compete in the global economy. Helping to fund these projects in small markets and rural areas will strengthen the economy, both locally and nationwide, and ensure that all communities have the opportunities they deserve.”
The House of Representatives passed its economic stimulus package (H.R. 1) on January 28, 2009. The Senate version of the bill is still being debated. Upon passage of the Senate version, the House and Senate will need to reconcile the difference in the two bills.
About the American Cable Association Based in Pittsburgh, the American Cable Association is a trade organization representing more than 900 smaller and medium-sized, independent cable companies that provide broadband services for more than 7 million cable subscribers primarily located in rural and smaller suburban markets across America. Through active participation in the regulatory and legislative process in Washington, D.C., ACA’s members work together to advance the interests of their customers and ensure the future competitiveness and viability of their businesses. For more information, visit www.americancable.org.