[imgbelt img=Boucher.jpg]

Somebody in Washington, D.C. forgot about mountains.

Rick Boucher, a Democratic Congressman from hilly southwestern Virginia (above), says that some rural communities may not qualify for federal broadband grants because they are too close to larger cities — even though they are cut off from those population centers by mountains. The federal guidelines for the broadband stimulus grants say communities within 50 miles of a 20,000 person city don’t qualify. But Boucher said that stipulation doesn’t take into account mountains. “For communities with small populations that are isolated by mountains, the cost of building broadband can be great,” Boucher said in a statement, according to InformationWeek

Besides, Boucher said, under these regulations “almost the entire Eastern U.S.” is disqualified. So far, $28 billion in requests for grants and loans have been submitted. The stimulus bill has set aside $7.2 billion for broadband access. The first winners could be announced in November.

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