ACA Connects Members joined together 30 years ago to represent the interests of small and mid-sized independent communications providers and the rural, urban, and suburban communities they serve in all 50 States. The communications industry has grown tremendously since then, and our Members’ businesses have evolved along with it – from simply providing cable service to offering a wide variety of advanced communications services to households, businesses, community anchor institutions, and other communications providers. Over this time, our Members have invested many tens of billions of dollars to upgrade their networks and expand their reach in response to their customers’ and communities’ needs. This White Paper provides the latest – a 30th Anniversary – snapshot of “who we are”, the services our Members offer, the infrastructure they have built, the competition they face, and the community services they provide.
ACA Connects Members – smaller and mid-sized independent providers – offer essential advanced communications services to 22 million households in rural and urban communities in all 50 states.
Today, every community understands it is vital to have access to advanced communications services over robust and reliable wireline infrastructure. ACA Connects Members offer these services to 18% of the households in the U.S., more than a quarter of which are in rural areas. Their mission is to continue to serve and invest in these communities to help them thrive.
Service to rural communities is at the heart of ACA Connects Members’ operations, and these providers are upgrading and extending their infrastructure to better serve rural America.
Nearly all ACA Connects Members (99%) provide fixed broadband service to at least one area of the U.S. that is classified as rural, and our Members increased gigabit service availability in these rural communities by nearly 100% from 2019 to 2021.
While the vast majority of their connections have been funded through private investment, ACA Connects Members also serve rural communities by participating in government deployment programs.
ACA Connects Members participate in federal programs such as the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF), Alternative Connect America Cost Model (ACAM) and other Rate of Return Carrier programs, and Connect America Fund (CAF) II, as well as the Rural Utilities Service’s (RUS) ReConnect program. ACA Connects Members also participate in a variety of State-level programs.
Communities served by ACA Connects Members benefit from reliable, robust communications infrastructure and high-performance service.
ACA Connects Members serve their communities with high-quality hybrid fiber coaxial (HFC) and fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) infrastructure to handle substantial and growing traffic loads. They continually upgrade these networks to provide higher speeds and more reliable service. Significantly more households in areas served by ACA Connects Members have access to gigabit broadband service (47%) than in areas served only by other providers (39%).
Communities served by ACA Connects Members benefit from greater broadband competition.
Households in ACA Connects Member communities benefit from the competitive market dynamics fostered by our Members’ presence. In communities served by our Members, 91% of households have 2 or more fixed broadband options, leading to greater availability of FTTH infrastructure and higher broadband speeds than elsewhere.
Communities benefit from the presence of ACA Connects Members in ways that go far beyond connectivity.
ACA Connects Members most often live and work in the communities that they serve, and community service lies at the heart of their mission. Our Members contribute to their communities in many ways, including by serving in local government or on the boards of local non-profit organizations and giving paid time for employees to participate in community service or otherwise support community organizations.