Originally published: March 4, 2010
Last updated: March 4, 2010 - 9:51pm
The House Commerce Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet held an oversight hearing on the broadband stimulus programs created in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Top Democrats on the panel said they are pleased with the progress of the stimulus spending, noting that the Commerce and Agriculture departments had to build an infrastructure from scratch for reviewing and choosing applications.
So far, two agencies -- NTIA and RUS -- in the departments have awarded more than 60 projects totaling more than $1.25 billion in grants and loans. House Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) applauded recent changes to the second round of funding requirements focusing on "middle mile" service to boost the speed and reach of networks in rural areas. He said he's "confident" the agencies "have been managing this program diligently." Rep Edward Markey (D-MA), former chairman of the subcommittee and a senior member, also praised the stimulus projects for creating jobs and expanding open broadband networks so underserved areas "can link to the global economy."
Republicans on the panel said the programs are wasting money by supporting buildout where broadband networks already exist.
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