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More than $300 million cut from federal broadband grants

President Obama signed new legislation on Wednesday that will cut $302 million in federal broadband Internet grants and use those funds to stave jobs losses among teachers.

The Education Jobs Fund will send $10 billion to budget constrained states so they can avoid layoffs of educators.

The broadband cuts come from the National Telecommunications & Technology Administration’s $4.7 billion budget for broadband stimulus grants. The Obama Administration allocated $7.2 billion to the NTIA and Department of Agriculture to grant money to projects that bring broadband connections to rural areas.

So far, the NTIA has awarded $1.6 billion and will give out its remaining funds within six weeks. The stimulus funds, meant to spark economic growth immediately and longer term, are among government efforts to bring affordable broadband to all Americans. A Pew Center report Wednesday showed half of Americans are skeptical of such programs as a government priority, with another 40 percent saying the effort is important.

“A small portion of the historic $7.2 billion investment the Administration is making in significantly expanding broadband access and adoption – about 4 percent - was repurposed to help avert imminent layoffs and meet emergency state funding needs," said an administration official who was not authorized to speak on the record. "We continue to steadily award billions of dollars to fund new Recovery Act broadband projects nationwide and our focus now is on investing in the strongest projects possible to make the most of the funds yet to be awarded.”

By Cecilia Kang  |  August 12, 2010; 10:05 AM ET
Categories:  Broadband  
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Comments

I could not find the National Telecommunications & Technology Administration; however, the "National Telecommunications and Information Administration" looks like its mission is on the right track (see http://www.ntia.doc.gov/).

Posted by: WorldNet | August 12, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Only this administration....

Remember this come Nov. WE ALL GET THE SHAFT SO OBAMA CAN REPAY THE UNIONS FOR THEIR SUPPORT AND TRY TO DRUM UP SUPPORT FOR THE MID TERMS.

Posted by: askgees | August 12, 2010 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Cecilia
NTIA still has more money to spend than they have broadband projects worth funding. Nearly all the big ones add fiber to places that already have plenty of fiber.

Posted by: daveburstein | August 12, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

"Half of all Americans are skeptical...." That's the whole point. These funds are supposed to bring internet to people who live in rural areas--by definition that number is smaller than the aggregate of peoples. What would have happened if Roosevelt had cut funding to the Rural Electrification Administration because half of the city dwellers---people who already had electricity---did not understand the need to bring electricity to all corners? There is no broadband internet across most of rural Virginia: no dsl, no cable, nothing. People in the city will never understand this which is why government should step in. Done correctly if we wire all points of the country with a 100 mbps circuit it will create jobs.

Posted by: werowe1 | August 12, 2010 5:06 PM | Report abuse

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