Feds Advise States, Others on Getting Broadband Money

Even though $7.2 billion for broadband buildouts isn’t much, it’s enough to have packed the house at the Commerce Department yesterday.

The heads of three federal agencies met Tuesday to offer advice and answer questions about the broadband aspect of the new economic stimulus plan and hundreds of people filled the auditorium. Even more watched the event over the Internet.

Loans and grants are available through the Rural Utilities Service, a branch of the Agriculture Department, and through the National Telecommunications & Information Administration, part of the Commerce Department. The funds have to be distributed by September of next year.

And with the digital TV transition smoothing out, the FCC now will focus more heavily on crafting a broadband strategy, Acting Chairman Michael Copps said.

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