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Geoff Daily

App-Rising.com covers the development and adoption of broadband applications, the deployment of and need for broadband networks, and the demands placed on policy to adapt to the revolutionary opportunities made possible by the Internet.

App-Rising.com is written by Geoff Daily, a DC-based technology journalist, broadband activist, marketing consultant, and Internet entrepreneur.

App-Rising.com is supported in part by AT&T;, however all views and opinions expressed herein are solely my own.

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February 8, 2009 11:51 PM

Senate Decides Millions of Rural Homes Don't Deserve Next-Generation Broadband

So the Senate just cut $2 billion for rural broadband from the stimulus over the weekend, reducing from nine to seven.

In the long run this loss matters little given that the number was coming down eventually anyway since even if the Senate version passes it will still have to be resolved with the lower amount set aside in the House.

But let's stop thinking about this issue politically and start considering what this decision means in real-world terms.

The impact of losing $2 billion worth of grants for general/generic broadband deployment from a nationwide perspective is limited. That much money doesn't go very far especially when spread across all 50 states.

But if we put that same budget towards partial loan guarantees we could empower tens of billions of private capital to flow into rural next-generation broadband.

Tens of billions of dollars means millions of rural homes getting connected.

And there are projects ready to start deploying within weeks all across America creating thousands of jobs if we could get this support through the gears of government quickly.

I completely understand that compared to the scale of the stimulus $2 billion isn't a big deal and that in order to get the overall package passed we have to make some sacrifices.

But we must also critically consider the missed opportunities these cuts represent, especially in cases like how to stimulate the deployment of rural next-generation broadband.

We can't just be thinking about how to reduce government spending; we need to find new mechanisms to spend those dollars in smart ways.

Because the way things stand now we're on the verge of taking away the opportunity to get connected with next-generation broadband from millions of rural homes, and I can't see how that's either good policy or smart politically.

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Comments (1)

Economist Dean Baker said recently that trimming a few billion off an $800 billion stimulus bill is like finding a shortcut for your jogging route. I like pithy economists.

Posted by FGF on February 10, 2009 10:44 AM

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