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Jonathan Adelstein (above) is President Obama’s nominee to head the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service, which means that Jonathan Adelstein will be in charge of the $2.5 billion pot of money intended to help pay for high-speed Internet in rural areas. Earlier this week, Adelstein appeared before the Senate Agriculture Committee. “I believe one of our key national priorities should be to aggressively promote the expansion of broadband deployment and adoption,” he told the committee in testimony. “Some have argued that the reason we’ve fallen so far in the international rankings is that we are more rural than those ahead of us. If that is correct,” he said, “we must cite it not as a despairing excuse but as a clarion call to re-double our efforts to promote rural broadband.” 

Adelstein is a former commissioner at the Federal Communications Commission. Before that he was a legislative aide to Sen. Tom Daschle of South Dakota. 

Adelstein’s nomination appears to be chugging along smoothly. The American Cable Association praised him, while, at the same time, trying to set the stage for how the USDA broadband money will be distributed. “ACA hopes that the RUS will award these important grants based on the merits. If that standard is followed, ACA is confident that many small and mid-sized cable operators will seek and receive their fair share of broadband stimulus funding,” said ACA President Matthew Polka.

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