Broadband Cable Association of Pennsylvania

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December 7, 2012

According to a recent story ("Cleveland businesses get another high-speed broadband alternative"), a company out of Rochester will soon provide high-speed Internet access in Cleveland and other Ohio cities. The news is positive: Enhanced competition is always a boon for consumers, often leading to lower prices, and, as your paper noted, Fibertech has a reputation for quality service.

I'm curious, though, about one of Fibertech's competitors, OneCommunity. The nonprofit organization also provides broadband service. As I've said, competition is good for broadband consumers, but the service this nonprofit provides comes with a large taxpayer price -- $80 million, in fact. That is the sum OneCommunity has received in subsidies.

Taxpayers should ask more questions about OneCommunity. Fibertech will invest its own capital in Ohio, an investment that will add to the regional economy. In addition to better consumer prices, the company has already said it plans to hire up to 10 new employees.

OneCommunity, meanwhile, is a drain on taxpayer finances. Ohio's economy is still on shaky ground and, because of it, so are our state and municipal budgets. If private-sector companies are willing to move and invest in Ohio broadband, why are we taking precious taxpayer dollars away from other priorities like public safety and education to pay for broadband?

Mark Novak South Euclid
(Letter to the editor in the Cleveland Plain Dealer)

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