RUS Administrator Nominee Signals Open Process With Little Red Tape
PITTSBURGH, July, 7, 2009 – The American Cable Association lauded U.S. Senate testimony of Rural Utilities Service nominee Jonathan Adelstein in which he promised to distribute broadband stimulus funding to the best projects in rural America submitted by applicants that won’t need to hire an army of Washington, D.C. consultants to obtain grants and loans.
“For ACA, it was good to hear that Jonathan Adelstein, a fourth-generation son of South Dakota, knows what it takes to bring broadband to the Badlands,” ACA President and CEO Matthew M. Polka said. “ACA members, who have been experienced and reliable providers of broadband in rural communities for many years, are small and mid-sized companies that are in the best position to achieve the goal of affordable, universal broadband, particularly if Mr. Adelstein’s promise of a streamlined and transparent application process for funding becomes a reality.”
Adelstein, a former member of the Federal Communications Commission nominated to be RUS Administrator by President Barack Obama, appeared before the Senate Agriculture Committee for a confirmation hearing on his critical post within the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Under the Broadband Initiatives Program (BIP), RUS has $2.5 billion in broadband grants and loans to disburse over the next 15 months pursuant to guidelines announced last week by RUS and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, which received an additional $4.7 billion in similar broadband stimulus money. In his testimony, Adelstein promised a fair and simplified application process that would result in the speedy distribution of funding to all corners of the country under strict financial controls designed to guard against waste.
“ACA hopes that the RUS will award these important grants based on the merits. If that standard is followed, ACA is confident that many small and mid-sized cable operators will seek and receive their fair share of broadband stimulus funding,” Polka added. “Based on Mr. Adelstein’s remarks, we are hopeful that BIP grants and loans will be awarded by RUS on a technology-neutral basis, and that applicants who are cable operators that serve rural America in a similar manner to rural local exchange carriers in these areas will be treated fairly under the new program.”
# # #
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 who 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 business. For more information, visit https://acaconnects.org/