When the more than $700 billion in stimulus money was voted on to help the economy, $7.2 billion was allocated to broadband. The idea was to help increase jobs, spur investments in technology and infrastructure, and provide long-term economic benefits.
The job of doling out that money was given to the National Telecommunications Information Administration (NTIA) and the Rural Utilities Service (RUS). NTIA got $4.7 billion, and RUS got $2.5 billion.
Grants and awards were assessed from proposals submitted, and a selected number of projects have been funded. The result is a mixed bag of broadband efforts in fiber to the home, wireless, and backhaul, much of it in rural or isolated areas.
The stimulus money was never intended to roll out broadband. It just isn’t enough, but it is a sufficient amount to get the ball rolling. Not all the stimulus money has been awarded either. The awards are changing almost daily. To get an update on the stimulus grants, go to www.broadbandusa.gov.