Originally published: February 3, 2010
Last updated: February 3, 2010 - 10:51pm
Qwest and other large telecoms may be ready to vie for stimulus dollars, after a year of sitting out the federal government's $7.2 billion program to expand broadband infrastructure nationwide.
Large carriers complained the rules made it economically unrealistic to use stimulus dollars to reach the tens of millions of people who lack broadband, but live within 60 miles of a city or town. "The good news is that they seem to have heard us in Washington, D.C.," said Chuck Ward, Qwest's Colorado president. "It almost gets us able to apply." The Department of Agriculture's Rural Utilities Service and Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) adjusted rules for the nearly $3 billion second round of broadband stimulus grants. With applications for projects being taken between Feb. 15 and March 15, the changes may have altered the economics enough for Qwest and others to seek some of the money.
Qwest is checking whether specific broadband infrastructure expansions, which could've qualified to be only half-funded in the first round, now become economically feasible under second-round rules that qualify the same projects for grants of up to 75 percent of construction costs.
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