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Criticism of plans to spend billions of dollars on extending broadband Internet service to rural communities is growing louder. The questions largely came from Republicans, who said spending money on rural broadband would not create many new jobs. On the Hannity show last night on Fox News, Sen. John McCain of Arizona specifically mentioned the rural broadband proposal when asked what he didn’t like in the Senate stimulus bill.
“There is no end to the spending,” said the 2008 Republican presidential nominee. “Many of the projects will take such access to broadband and wireless for rural America that will take years, just years. Much of the spending can’t be done in a short time, and it is spending programs that the Democrats have tried to put into law and enact for a long time, and now, they are doing that.”
Today’s Investor’s Business Daily singled out the broadband provision as part of a “laundry list of provisions that critics say have little relation to economic stimulus.” Last night on CNN’s Lou Dobbs show, industry analysts said the rural broadband proposal would have little stimulative effect. “The number of jobs that broadband stimulus is meant to create is highly debatable,” one analyst said.