Air Advantage Response to Federal Government Legal Dispute
3/30/2016 8:13 AM
In response to recent news sources and in particular a story that appears in several news outlets, we would like share with you the following information. A lawsuit has been filed by the United States Department of Agriculture against Air Advantage. The suit is an attempt by the Rural Utilities Service (“RUS”), a division of the United States Department of Agriculture, to determine its claims based upon obligations for loans made to build the Air Advantage network, pursuant to the federal Broadband Initiative Program (“BIP”). This program is designed to provide robust internet service to underserved areas which would not otherwise be served because private investment would not justify the capital required to build the network. The mission of RUS is to provide loans and grants to build the networks which will fulfill this mission.
Air Advantage has disputed and continues to dispute the amount of the RUS claims based upon defenses arising from the actions of RUS in administering the funding awarded to Air Advantage and the failure of RUS to advance loans and grants as promised under the program guidelines. Air Advantage intends to fully defend against these claims in Federal District Court.
Air Advantage has no intention of closing our doors, shutting down our network, or changing our operations in any way. Further, it is highly unlikely that RUS would ever seek such a result. It is the mission and the purpose of the BIP program to provide robust internet service to underserved areas, in this case the Thumb of Michigan. Therefore, whatever the outcome of the litigation, which if not settled, will be protracted, it is extremely unlikely that the network will discontinue providing services. This may take some time to work through; however, Air Advantage is financially capable of meeting this challenge and continuing to provide the great service to which you are accustomed. We appreciate your continued commitment to our service and your confidence in our company as we resolve this matter.