Broadband Stimulus: $302M Stripped From NTIA to Pay for Teachers Bill

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The communications industry will lose a little more than $300 million in broadband stimulus money now that President Obama has signed the Educations Jobs Fund bill.

The new legislation gives $10 billion to states to keep teachers employed; much of the money is being taken from federal agencies that received 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act dollars. The National Telecommunications & Information Administration (NTIA) is one of the agencies and confirmed this week that $302 million of the $4.7 billion total no longer is available for broadband deployments.

"About 4 percent was repurposed … to help avert imminent layoffs and meet emergency state funding needs," an NTIA official told media outlets on background. “We continue to steadily award billions of dollars to fund new Recovery Act broadband projects nationwide and our focus now is on investing in the strongest projects possible to make the most of the funds yet to be awarded."

The NTIA and the Rural Utilities Service, the other agency distributing broadband stimulus money, must award the remaining grants and loans by Sept. 30. NTIA so far has paid out $1.6 billion.

Members of Congress typically are on vacation in August but House representatives returned to Washington, D.C., this week to pass the teacher-funding bill as school starts around the country.

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