Making grants and loans available to smaller, independent cable operators will be the fastest, most efficient way of bringing broadband to unserved and underserved areas.
That’s the case the American Cable Association (ACA) made in letters sent to Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., (available here) and Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif. (available here). The two congressmen have significant influence on what’s going into the stimulus bill, and they chair committees that will help shape broadband legislation in the future.
The ACA is adding a new twist to the argument, which typically focuses on last-mile infrastructure. This time, the ACA is also referring to backbone connections.
The Association argued that the government can help bring faster broadband speeds to thousands of smaller markets and rural areas across the country by making grants and loans accessible to local operators who “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.”
ACA President and CEO Matthew M. Polka said: “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.”