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ACA: 83 Members Applied for $1.3 Billion in Stimulus Money

The American Cable Association said Thursday that 83 of its members had applied for $1.3 billion in economic stimulus money.

Among the bidders: NPG Cable, Wave Broadband, Boycom Cablevision, and NewWave Communications.

But that still leaves over 90% of the group's members who didn't go for the money, which is being handed out in grants and loans by the National Telecommunications & Information Administraiton and the USDA's Rural Utilities Service.

"Although many ACA members applied for grants and loans," said ACA President Matt Polka, "the turnout would have been greater if the federal government had not attached funding restrictions that made it more difficult for small cable companies to apply."

He said among them were the governement's requirement that it hold the first line, and the 10-year hold on sale of the project.

"We hope these onerous restrictions will be lifted before applications for the second round are due," he said.

NTIA and RUS have said they are open to adjusting the process the second time around, and may even delay the second round and consolidate it with the contemplated third round to give itself more time to learn from the first.

Some legislators criticized the bidding guidelines at a hearing last week.