Giving Small Markets the Same Treatment as Big Metros

Rocco Commisso, Mediacom’s chairman and CEO, is a classic American success story. The Italian-born entrepreneur immigrated to the United States at 12; attended Columbia University on a full scholarship; and went on to a successful career in the banking and cable television industries. In 1995, Commisso founded Mediacom, a communications company focused on delivering high-quality video, internet and phone service to small-town America. Since then, the company has grown into the nation’s fifth-largest cable provider, with operations in 22 states and annual revenues of more than $1.9 billion.

“We started Mediacom with the belief that small markets should get the same treatment as the bigger metropolitan areas,” Commisso says. “That’s exactly what we’ve accomplished here over the last 23 years.”

It’s hard to overstate the positive impact that Mediacom has on the communities it serves. Last year, U.S. News & World Report put Iowa at the top of its annual “Best States” list—in large part because of the one-gigabit broadband service that Mediacom had deployed across much of the state.

"When we executed on the 1-Gig service in Iowa, it was unheard of to launch these types of broadband speeds across an entire state,” Commisso says. “We were the first major ISP in the nation to launch gigabit services across its national footprint, meaning the fastest technology in the market today was introduced first in rural America.”

We are very proud of our partnership with Mediacom and look forward to helping them achieve their business goals in the future.

Commisso’s success has been built upon three cornerstones: buy right, finance right and operate right. The financing piece of his strategy includes CoBank, which has been providing credit to Mediacom since 2013 and is now the company’s largest lender. CoBank’s balance sheet capacity, enhanced by its ability to syndicate loans to other partners in the Farm Credit System, has been one of the keys to the success of the relationship.

Ted Koerner, the head of CoBank’s Communications Banking Division, says providing debt capital to communications service providers that serve rural America’s communities is a central component of the bank’s mission. “The broadband and other communications services that Mediacom provides are essential to the economic success of the communities it serves,” Koerner says. “We are very proud of our partnership with Mediacom and look forward to helping them achieve their business goals in the future.”