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January 16, 2009 10:46 AM

Advantages of the Rural Fiber Fund

The Rural Fiber Fund Working Group supports the intent of the rural broadband grants in the draft stimulus package but respectfully suggests that for the same money the RFF can deliver greater stimulus faster and more benefits in the long-term while requiring less administration.

The Advantages
Market-driven approach - Communities decide what they want, capital markets decide if the project's financially viable; government doesn't pick winners and losers, the market does

Light government touch - A streamlined administration enables rather than inhibits innovation

Works for everyone - A tool that can be utilized by and benefit all owner/operator models

Unclogs capital markets - By sharing risk through loan guarantees capital will start flowing

Empowers communities - Matching grants give communities tools to determine their future

World-class broadband - Fiber empowers rural America to not just access the Internet but to compete on a level-playing field in the global economy

Creates the most jobs - Deploying fiber creates 33% more jobs than any other broadband

Enables creative class - Fiber means people can not just consume content but produce and distribute it as well, creating a digital economy that doesn't just import but exports too

Long-term investment - Imagine roads that can expand as traffic grows - that's fiber

Most bang for the buck - Loan guarantees get two multipliers as each guarantee creates twice as much investment yet only a fraction of that guaranteed dollar counts against the budget

Will work quickly - Get more than $3 billion of projects caught in the credit crunch moving

Compared to Rural Broadband Grants
It'll take months for grants to be distributed. RFF projects could be deploying within weeks.

Grants mean picking winners. The RFF rewards a market-driven, community-centric approach.

Grants don't leverage private dollars to create as large of a multiplier effect as guarantees.

Whatever broadband we subsidize today rural America will have for decades. Getting them today's broadband won't be enough to allow them to compete in tomorrow's global economy.

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