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NTIA to Pitch Broadband Loan Successes

The House Subcommittee on Communications &
Technology has scheduled a hearing May 16 on "broadband loans and
grants," and the Obama Administration is expected to argue that those
programs are generating jobs and spurring innovation.

Republican House leaders, and some cable
operators, have expressed concerns about how the broadband loans and grants
funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act are being spent. The
National Telecommunications & Information Administration oversees the BTOP
grant program, while the Agriculture Department's Rural Utilities Service
Handles broadband loans funded by the stimulus money.

According to a source, look for NTIA to highlight the
following at the hearing:

NTIA grantees say they

  • Deployed or upgraded more than 45,000 miles of
    broadband infrastructure
  • Installed more than 29,000 workstations in
    public computer centers
  • Instituted programs that have led to more than
    260,000 new broadband subscribers including some businesses
  • Approximately 300 interconnection agreements
    in the works

NTIA will also argue that
its BTOP projects are "generally" on track, are creating jobs, spurring
economic growth, and that it "vigorously" overseeing them to make sure they
complete them on schedule and budget.