“Washington talks very much about we need to get more broadband into rural areas, but they are still regulating smaller companies many times as if they are larger companies,” said ACA president and CEO, Matt Polka. Polka indicates that regulations threaten his members’ ability to not only offer broadband, but to stay in business.
Echoing what FCC Commissioner Clyburn said, Polka points out that the 800 small cable providers have shut down and that regulation, as well as cost of programming, played a major role in the demise of these systems. This isn’t just about video, however, as Polka explains that, soon, most ACA members will have more broadband customers than they will video customers. In other words, Polka says the demise of those 800 systems means that 40k subs do not have access to a wireline broadband provider.
The challenge for small operators is that the owners and managers have to focus on serving their customers and often don’t have the discretionary time or budget to lobby Washington. Even being able to attend conferences like The Independent Show becomes both a cost and time challenge for the small operators. Regardless of their situation, Polka encourages his members to be in constant contact with their representatives to help tell their story of how they are bringing broadband to rural America.