January 14, 2015
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Mediacom Communications Issues Statement Regarding President Obama’s Visit to Cedar Falls, Iowa
DES MOINES, Iowa--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Mediacom Communications Corporation today released the following statement regarding President Obama’s visit to Cedar Falls, Iowa:
“When the state attempted to sell the ICN to the private sector last year, none of the bids it received came close to covering the $300 million that Iowa taxpayers spent on the project.”
Mediacom is deeply concerned with the comments made by President Obama during his visit to Cedar Falls Utilities (CFU) today. CFU is a municipal utility that leverages its government-conferred monopoly over electric, water and gas service to unfairly compete with private enterprises for cable television and high-speed Internet customers. The President’s remarks combined with the selection of CFU as the venue for his speech clearly show that the White House wants to waste taxpayer dollars to supplant our Nation’s private sector broadband providers with government-owned utility companies.
According to Mediacom’s CEO and founder, Rocco B. Commisso: “I am a strong believer in our free market system, both as a matter of principle and because, as an entrepreneur, I know firsthand that there is no better way of furthering the economic well-being of American citizens. I started Mediacom in 1995 because I believed the residents of small and mid-sized communities deserved to have access to advanced telecommunications services second to none, and I risked my own life savings and raised billions more of private capital in order to act on that belief. Since 1999, Mediacom has invested $2.8 billion in Iowa so that communities like Hamilton, with 35 households, and Goose Lake, with 98, can enjoy cable television, broadband and VoIP telephone services comparable to those available in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City and Washington, D.C. I believe that Mediacom has invested more money in Iowa than any other private company over the last 15 years, and I am proud that not one dime of that investment has come from the government or taxpayers.”
“I think it is fair to say,” he continued, “that the only reason the vast majority of Iowans are able to enjoy broadband speeds that are significantly faster than dial-up, DSL or cellular 3G and 4G service, for that matter, is because Mediacom has honored its commitment made 15 years ago. At a time when no one else was willing to spend the money, we promised to take the necessary risks to ensure that the citizens of Iowa were not mere bystanders in the digital revolution, but active participants in the broadband economy. Mediacom has enriched the lives of Iowans and provided fertile ground for businesses, large and small, to prosper and grow.”
“I mean no disrespect to the President,” Mr. Commisso said, “but traveling to Iowa in order to be a cheerleader for government-owned and taxpayer-funded broadband networks while ignoring the far more significant contributions of Mediacom is an insult to our 1,600 dedicated employees who live and work in Iowa.”
“More importantly,” Mr. Commisso stated, “there is no reason to invest even more government dollars in municipally-owned broadband ventures, many of which wind up in financial difficulty. That is especially true at a time when wages are stagnant even as taxes constantly rise, and when there are more pressing needs that are actually proper areas for government action, such as saving the social security system from insolvency, dealing with massive unfunded state and local pension obligations and investing in our schools, bridges and roads.”
Mr. Commisso concluded by saying: “The plain, simple truth is that Mediacom, without spending taxpayer money or exposing electric utilities and their customers to financial risk and increased rates, is giving Iowa families, businesses and communities faster, cheaper access to broadband so they can succeed in the digital age.”
According to Ed Pardini, Mediacom’s Senior Vice President of Field Operations based in Des Moines, “While CFU serves a single college-town of about 14,000 households, Mediacom has built a network of over 200,000 fiber miles in Iowa that passes 1,000,000 homes in more than 300 communities across 87 counties, representing 83% of Iowa’s total households. Mediacom offers affordable advanced broadband services not only in Iowa’s biggest cities like Ames, Cedar Rapids, Davenport, Des Moines, Dubuque, Iowa City and Waterloo, but also in small towns and rural areas like Eagle Grove, Eddyville, Red Oak and Spirit Lake. We give residential customers in all of our markets—from the largest to the smallest—the flexibility of choosing a combination of speed and price that is right for them, with the options ranging from 3 to 150 Mbps, and we are in the process of rolling out a 305 Mbps residential service. Since 2001, we have increased the download speed of our flagship residential offering by more than 3,000%, while keeping the price essentially unchanged.”
Mr. Pardini says that Mediacom is attuned to evolving customer needs and preferences, and upgrades its network and services to keep pace with the demand for faster speeds. “Despite the hype about 1 Gig residential speeds, the only real demand for 1 Gig services currently resides within the commercial space,” noted Pardini. “Mediacom has played a major role in attracting new business to Iowa, creating jobs and generating economic activity. Businesses, colleges, school districts, hospitals and other institutions across the state are today receiving dedicated, fiber-based data connections of up to 10 Gigabits from Mediacom Business,” he continued.
Pardini noted that Mediacom contributes to Iowa in many ways besides offering broadband and other advanced services. “We give free Internet service to hundreds of schools across the Hawkeye State, pay tens of millions annually in Iowa taxes and franchise fees and provide financial and other support to a host of worthwhile community causes,” he stated. “Moreover, Mediacom employs over 1,600 Iowans who live and work in the communities they serve across the State, as compared to the estimated 50 employees in CFU’s telecommunications operations. The commerce generated and taxes paid by Mediacom and our employees are major contributors to Iowa’s robust economy and the State’s fiscal health,” said Pardini.
“The great irony of the President choosing Iowa as the location to promote his federal takeover of broadband agenda is that our state is home to the Iowa Communications Network, a technologically decaying government owned system,” explained Pardini. “When the state attempted to sell the ICN to the private sector last year, none of the bids it received came close to covering the $300 million that Iowa taxpayers spent on the project.”
About Mediacom Communications
Mediacom Communications Corporation is the nation’s eighth largest cable television company and one of the leading cable operators focused on serving the smaller cities in the United States, with a significant customer concentration in the Midwestern and Southeastern regions. Mediacom Communications offers a wide array of information, communications and entertainment services, including video, high-speed data and phone, and provides innovative broadband communications solutions through its Mediacom Business division. Mediacom Communications’ advertising sales and productions services are sold under its OnMedia division. More information about Mediacom Communications is available at www.mediacomcc.com.
Mediacom Communications Corporation
Tom Larsen, 845-443-2754
Group VP, Legal & Public Affairs