Mediacom Communications CEO and founder Rocco Commisso took umbrage with President Barak Obama’s visit to Cedar Falls, Iowa on Wednesday.
Obama stopped in at Cedar Falls Utilities, which is a competitor to Mediacom, to voice his support for local communities building their own broadband networks with taxpayer money.
Mediacom released the following statement by 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 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, 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, 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.”
“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.”
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