CFU General Manager: "Thank You, Cedar Falls" - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

CFU General Manager: "Thank You, Cedar Falls"

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CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) -

The general manager of Cedar Falls Utilities is thanking the community after the President of the United States visited the utility company last week. 

In a blog posted Monday afternoon, Jim Krieg says, "It was an honor to extend Cedar Falls' hospitality to our President, and to be held up as an example of community broadband success."


The full blog post follows:

"Thank You, Cedar Falls

President Barack Obama's visit last week was a proud and memorable day for Cedar Falls, and most certainly for CFU. It was an honor to extend Cedar Falls' hospitality to our President, and to be held up as an example of community broadband success.

Because of the President's visit, people from all over the place are asking about the secret sauce. What is it that makes community broadband successful in Cedar Falls?

The answer is in the name: community. In 1994, no provider offered high speed internet service in Cedar Falls, and the phone and cable companies then serving the town had no plans to upgrade their networks any time soon. Unwilling to wait, citizens led the charge to pass a referendum that founded our community broadband service and tasked CFU with designing, building and running it.

It was a bold move and not without risk. On Wednesday the President called it visionary and ahead of its time. The referendum ballot included a $3 million bond to fund construction costs. That bond was repaid over time as our business grew.

In fact, the business boomed. The same people who voted to form CFU's Communications Utility made it a smashing success by signing up as customers. Because of that, community broadband in Cedar Falls is fully self-supporting as a fee-for-service business.

If you've read that our broadband service is dependent on tax money or supported by our electric utility, we want you to know that those statements are incorrect. No local or state tax money has ever been used to fund the broadband utility's operations or repay its build-out debt. All of the money has come from the customers who choose to subscribe to CFU's internet and TV services.

A federal Department of Agriculture matching grant provided partial funding for our 2012 expansion outside the city limits, which brought broadband service to many rural Cedar Falls residents. That federal grant is the only tax funding our broadband utility has ever received. Many privately-held internet providers across the country also received grants for rural expansion projects.

CFU's local Board of Trustees sets our rates. We keep rates as low as possible, but high enough to pay all the bills. The rates we charge customers for internet and TV services cover daily operations, system improvements and debt service. They generate healthy cash flow, and we plow that money back into system improvements like our 2010-2013 fiber-to-the-home upgrade. Our Board has authorized the continuous reinvestment needed to keep CFU broadband on the leading edge of speed and reliability, on par with the best networks in the world.

Today our broadband utility is financially sound, built for the future and ready to continue serving the people of Cedar Falls for many years to come.

On Wednesday the President advocated for more community broadband across the country. That is for others to decide and it's not our banner to carry. We're here to serve the citizens of Cedar Falls. Service is our single focus, and we thank every customer for the honor of connecting Cedar Falls to the world for the last 20 years. You are the community that made it happen.

Jim Krieg

General Manager"

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