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House Communications Subcommittee Hearing To Vet Stimulus Program

House Communications Subcommittee chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.) has scheduled a hearing Feb. 11 on "Lessons Learned from the Broadband Stimulus," and it is clear he sees the 2009 legislation as teaching by negative example.

Walden and other Republican legislators have had ongoing, frequently expressed, concerns about waste, fraud and abuse in the program, as well as funds being used to overbuild existing broadband service, a concern shared by a number of cable operators.

In 2009, legislation proposed by the Obama Administration made $7 billion in broadband stimulus funding available-- grants and loans comprising the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) grant money overseen by NTIA and the Broadband Initiatives Program (BIP) overseen by the Agriculture Department's Rural Utilities Service.

"With the five-year anniversary of the law approaching next week, members will revisit the broadband stimulus that has been plagued by mismanagement and poor decision making in order to understand how we can better protect taxpayer dollars in the future," said the committee in announcing the hearing.