Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Broadband Construction Stimulus Grant Program 288% Oversubscribed

Yesterday’s hearings at the Senate Commerce Committee regarding oversight of the stimulus package grants of $7.2 billion for construction of broadband networks in unserved and underserved areas of the nation revealed that 2,200 applications seeking a total of $28 billion in funding have been submitted against the appropriation. Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller and Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill both complained about the fact that responsibility for awarding the funds is divided between the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration and the Agriculture Department’s Rural Utilities Service. Have they forgotten that they are part of the Congress which set up the stimulus package that way?

Meanwhile, Comcast and a number of other internet and cable TV providers are complaining that a large number of the grant applications, supposedly intended to get internet service to citizens in areas of the nation where none is available, propose network construction in areas where the companies already provide service.
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