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The Podium

Wednesday, November 11

Speeding Up

By Bruce Mehlman

Up until now, the broadband grant process has been slower than anticipated. But with the unemployment rate now over 10%, the Wall Street Journal reports that the Obama administration wants to speed the process up:

Officials at the Commerce and Agriculture Departments outlined plans to consolidate into a single round a grant process originally projected to go for two more rounds. The first round of grants is scheduled to be made in December. The departments asked for comments on how the program could be changed to make it easier for companies to apply.

“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. The Agriculture Department oversees a program to build broadband lines in rural areas and will distribute loans as part of the stimulus program.

In other national broadband plan news, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has announced the next round of broadband mapping grants. This time, seven states were on the list: Alabama, Washington, Wyoming, Idaho, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Wisconsin.

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