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Colorado Postpones EAGLE-Net Hearing

WASHINGTON — Due to the flooding in the state, Colorado’s legislative audit committee postponed until Sept. 25 a hearing on EAGLE-Net, which is building out broadband service with a government grant from the Broadband Technology Opportunity Program (BTOP).

There have been various concerns about how EAGLE-Net, the “intergovernmental” alliance spending more than $100 million in government stimulus money to deliver broadband to schools and libraries, is building out to those anchor institutions and allegations it is overbuilding existing service.

Jenny Atchley of the Colorado state auditor’s office told Multichannel News the committee also has concerns it wants to discuss with an EAGLE-Net representative at a public hearing. The committee met with EAGLE-Net in February, and tried twice unsuccessfully to bring the company to a public hearing in August.

EAGLE-Net has said it is “not competing against local service providers for business, residential or commercial customers.”

In June, Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), chair of the House Communications Subcommittee, asked for information about EAGLE-Net as part of a continuing examination of the alliance’s possible use of government broadband stimulus money to overbuild existing service. EAGLE-Net has said the grant’s rules are designed to help it avoid overbuilding, but added that its grant satisfies a need for access and “redundancy.”

In a speech last week, Walden took aim at BTOP, saying that “lack of planning and analysis of projects have led to poor execution and overbuilding of private networks in many instances.” Cable operators have agreed with that view.

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.