The American Cable Association, in a filing Wednesday evening, urged the FCC to adopt a rural broadband strategy that relies on small and mid-sized cable operators as chief recipients of federal grants and loans to close the broadband gap in rural areas of the country.

The ACA’s comments emphasized that funding projects to construct last-mile and middle-mile infrastructure would extend high-speed Internet service into sparsely populated areas that have been either economically challenging or impossible to serve.

In the filing, the ACA said a grant-and-loan program should be open and transparent, following a streamlined application process for small and medium-sized cable operators or those requesting relatively minimal funding. ACA added that the program should also give consideration to entities that have the financial, managerial, operational, and technical experience running broadband networks in smaller markets and rural areas.

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