PITTSBURGH, November 18, 2014 - American Cable Association President and CEO Matthew M. Polka issued the following statement regarding the Federal Communications Commission's announcement last week that its Rural Broadband Experiments (RBE) - an effort to explore how to expand robust broadband in rural America in the most cost-effective ways using competitive bidding -- has attracted almost 600 project bids from 181 applicants, representing nearly $885 million worth of projects:
"For many years, ACA has sought to have the FCC pivot from its traditional approach of awarding universal service funding only to incumbent price cap carriers and instead employ more efficient and competitively neutral mechanisms.
"In adopting the Connect America Fund (CAF) program, the FCC took a first step in that direction. When the agency adopted the RBE program earlier this year, it sought to validate whether a competitive bidding mechanism could produce results that better serve the public interest.
"We now have an answer to the questions raised by the FCC with these experiments. The outpouring of interest in RBE demonstrates that numerous providers of all types want to access support to provide much better broadband service to consumers that need it.
"It shows that in the end, a competitive bidding mechanism open to all providers will enable the FCC to get more robust broadband to more unserved areas in a more efficient manner. The FCC should be applauded for launching this program."About the American Cable Association: Based in Pittsburgh, the American Cable Association is a trade organization representing about 850 smaller and medium-sized, independent cable companies who provide broadband services for nearly 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 business. For more information, visit http://www.americancable.org/
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