Stimulating Cable

7:40 PM -- Quite a few more small and mid-sized MSOs placed bids for broadband projects for the first round of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) than we initially thought.

Based on our sifting through the 2,200 or so applications, we figured there were at least 54 proposed broadband projects from MSOs totaling north of $442 million. The American Cable Association (ACA) , a lobbying group that represents about 900 small MSOs and independent operators, announced Thursday that 83 of its members put in for last-mile and middle-mile projects totaling more than $1.3 billion. A total of $7.2 billion in broadband stimulus funds will be doled out over three rounds. (See ACA: Members Bid for $1.3B in Stimulus and Recovery Act: Round One Brings 'Nearly $28B' in Bids.)

So there are probably several telcos and munis out there that also operate cable plant and are ACA members. We've asked the ACA to provide a list so we know what members we evidently missed, and we'll try to follow up with a revised chart as soon as possible.

ACA president and CEO Matthew Polka said in a statement the cable turnout in the first round would've been greater "if the federal government had not attached funding restrictions that made it more difficult for small cable companies to apply."

For example, the insistence that the feds hold the first lien would have violated terms and conditions contained in many existing bank loan agreements, Polka points out. Also, the "10-year prohibition on the sale of federally funded projects" also deterred some ACA members from filing applications.

"We hope these onerous restrictions will be lifted before applications for the second round are due," Polka said.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

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