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Congressional Testimony Before the House Committee on Small Business regarding the Recovery Act and Broadband

Submission Date: 
10/28/2009
Testimony: 
Congressional Testimony on The Recovery Act and Broadband: Evaluation of Broadband Investments on Small Businesses & Job Creation

United States House of Representatives

BEFORE THE COMMITTEE ON SMALL BUSINESS

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

"The Recovery Act and Broadband: Evaluation of Broadband Investments on Small Businesses and Job

Creation"

TESTIMONY OF JAMES M. GLEASON

PRESIDENT AND CEO - NEWWAVE COMMUNICATIONS,

SIKESTON, MISSOURI

PAST CHAIRMAN - AMERICAN CABLE ASSOCIATION,

PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA

Thank you, Madame Chairwoman and members of the Committee. It is a great honor and a privilege for me to be here before this committee to tell you about my independent company and the great broadband work of many other companies that are members of the American Cable Association (ACA).

My name is Jim Gleason, and I am the President and Chief Executive Officer of NewWave
Communications and past Chairman of ACA. ACA represents nearly 900 smaller and medium‐sized cable companies providing advanced video, telephone service, and, most importantly, high‐speed broadband Internet access to 7 million customers in predominantly rural and smaller markets in every state.

My company, NewWave, serves more than 115,000 customers in Kentucky, Illinois, southeast
Missouri, northeast Arkansas and western Tennessee and is headquartered in Sikeston, Missouri. At NewWave, we provide cable television, high‐speed broadband and data services and telephone
service, specializing in smaller and mid‐sized communities.

As small and medium‐sized independent cable operators, we represent a unique perspective
on the broadband marketplace. Our members have historically invested in communities where the ‘big guys' find it unattractive to provide service, whether that is in rural communities such as Union Star, MO, or in more urban markets such as Lawrence, KS. To date, ACA members have built these networks in the most rural areas of our country without any direct federal subsidy.

I appreciate the opportunity today to share with you ACA's perspective on key issues facing
small, independent cable and broadband providers across America as they continue to be leaders in rolling out broadband service to consumers residing in some of the most economically challenging areas to deliver state‐of‐the‐art communications technology.


ACA AND BROADBAND STIMULUS APPLICATIONS

ACA members view the $7.2 billion broadband stimulus program as an important opportunity
to continue their great work in constructing broadband facilities in remote and rural areas so these communities can enjoy technological parity with densely populated urban areas so accustomed to being the first in line.

I'm pleased to report that in all, 83 ACA members have applied for $1.3 billion in grants and
loans under the two stimulus programs run by the National Telecommunications and Information
Administration (NTIA) and the Rural Utilities Service (RUS).

ACA members applied for both last‐mile and middle‐mile projects in both unserved and
underserved areas. ACA members submitted applications to fund 127 projects.

My company, NewWave, has applied for $10.1 million in funds to upgrade fiber and cable
facilities in 11 communities in Illinois, Indiana, Missouri and South Carolina. The network upgrades will be state‐of‐the‐art fiber‐to‐the‐curb designs and will offer these rural communities DOCSIS 3.0 technology that will offer data speeds up to 100 Mbps.

In addition, fiber‐optic facilities will be constructed out of the communities and will connect
them to larger, high‐capacity fiber lines for broadband access. The vast majority of the areas NewWave has applied for are unserved by other providers and would not have broadband access without this program. NewWave has coordinated with a wide range of community organizations and leaders and has submitted dozens of letters of support for these projects.

As companies with decades of experience in rural America, ACA members have a proud track
record of achievement that demonstrates why they are ideal candidates to receive funding from NTIA and the RUS. ACA members are uniquely positioned to advance the goal of providing every American with affordable access to the Internet over advanced communications networks, and are prepared to extend broadband into many of the economically and technically challenging areas in the country. I encourage the NTIA and RUS to closely consider all of our members' applications.

THE GOVERNMENT'S IMPORTANT FOCUS ON THE MIDDLE MILE IS GOOD.

Over the years, ACA has demonstrated that the issues and challenges facing rural areas and
the small cable operators that serve them is substantially different than the issues and concerns
facing urban areas and companies the size of Comcast and Time Warner Cable.

As we talk about broadband, that distinction becomes even more critical.

Although many focus exclusively on the need to upgrade the Internet communications path
that enters the home and office, ACA has attempted to draw attention to the middle mile.

NTIA and the RUS should not waste taxpayer dollars on funding broadband projects that
intend to provide service in areas already served.

Overbuilding established broadband providers with taxpayer support would reduce the
amount of stimulus money available to provide broadband to the truly unserved and would limit
funding for critical middle‐mile projects. (This is just the first two pages of the testimony to read the full testimony please click on the pdf below).

AttachmentSize
James Gleason NewWave-ACA Broadband Stimulus Hearing 102809-Written Testimony-FINAL.pdf173.66 KB

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