ACA claims broadband stimulus unfairly favors telcos

It appears that the overseers (the RUS and NTIA) of the broadband stimulus act have something against cable companies according to the American Cable Association (ACA). At issue is the set of criteria, which requires applicants to meet a specific number of points on a 100-point scale, for deciding who or who does not get money.

A key criterion is whether the applicant borrowed funds under Title II of the 1936 Rural Electric Act, and it appears that telcos led that charge. Anyone that did borrow the funds under that program got five points so ACA asked NTIA and RUS to reduce the emphasis of that criteria from five to one. Apparently, RUS did not heed ACA's calls and upped the points on that issue from five to eight.

ACA President and CEO Matthew Polka said in a statement that they are "disappointed that NTIA and RUS structurally modified the programs in a way that makes it harder for small cable providers to receive last-mile funding."

It appears that the ACA might be on to something. By ACA's previous count, 83 small to mid-sized cable operators have submitted applications for the first round of the broadband stimulus funding. Out of that group, only one small cable operator ACA member, Pine Telephone Co. got funding in the first round.   

For more:
- CED has this article

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