The Obama Administration promised that it would work more quickly to issue money under the $7.2 billion broadband deployment grant program. Washington has been criticized by applicants for being slow in distributing broadband money, which was included in the stimulus bill from earlier this year.
Folks at the Commerce and Agriculture departments (the agencies that share the responsibility for administering the grants) say they intend to consolidate two rounds of applications (the original plan) into a single round. The first round of grants is scheduled to be made in December. “This will get the funds out the door faster to stimulate the economy and create jobs,” said Jonathan Adelstein, the Agriculture Department official overseeing the program in a statement. Amy Schatz of the Wall Street Journal also reports, “Administration officials said they’re looking at whether they should devote more of the roughly $3 billion that will be handed out in the second round to high-volume Internet lines in rural areas that could be shared by private companies, libraries and others instead of ‘last-mile’ projects that would be used by a single company to offer broadband service to the home.”
“The things they’re asking about capture the most common things that people have complained about,” Craig Settles, founder of Successful.com, a broadband business consulting firm and a Daily Yonder contributor, told the Wall Street Journal. “There appears to be logic and some attempt to get to consistency and making life easier for the applicant.”