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Republicans question broadband stimulus program

Grant Gross | Feb. 10, 2011
Two government agencies handing out more than $7 billion for broadband deployment should reexamine grants to projects that overlap broadband service, and they should return any funds that go unspent, several Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives said Thursday.

The RTS broadband proposal would cover 4,600 square miles, and the overlap with Eagle Communications is less than eight square miles, Doyle said. Less than 20 percent of the RUS award would be spent in Hays, where there would be overlap, he added.

But Hays, with a population of about 20,000, represents about half of the population the RUS project would serve, Shorman said. "We're not serving square miles," he said. "We're serving customers."

Democrats on the subcommittee called for more funding for the inspector generals overseeing the broadband programs at the two agencies.

Congress needs to ensure that the programs are efficient and effective, said Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.). The U.S. is falling behind other countries in broadband deployment, she said.

"We need significant investment from both the public and the private sectors," she said.


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