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.”
August 12, 2010; 10:05 AM ET
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