Monday, March 9, 2009

Public Input Sought on U.S. Broadband Stimulus Spending

A series of public meetings kicked off in Washington to discuss the $7.2 billion allocated in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for broadband initiatives. The next public meetings will be held from March 16-24 to discuss how NTIA and the Rural Utility Service should design and implement these programs. Some meetings will be webcast.

The U.S. Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Utility Services (RUS) have released a Joint Request for Information and Notice of Public Meetings (RFI), which invites comments from interested parties on the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program
(BTOP) and the RUS grants and loans program that will be funded by this stimulus spending.

Specifically, these federal agencies are seeking public comment on the establishment of selection criteria for grant awards, grant mechanics, the role of various stakeholders, and coordination between NTIA and RUS. The request for information also seeks comment on the creation of a national broadband map. All of these efforts should help inform the cross-agency work on the national broadband plan that will shortly be initiated by the Federal Communications Commission.

See also