And the Independent Telcos Suggest Stimulus

Further reinforcing the idea that a broadband stimulus may be happening sooner rather than later and that it will involve rural telcos, OPASTCO released a letter written to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid outlining their proposal in a white paper. This white paper, authored by the Digital Policy Institute, an independent think tank at Ball State University, suggests immediate build-out of a minimum of 25 Mb/s to 5.9 million rural homes as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan.

The DPI indicates this $28 Billion program could start in March of 2009 (assuming ARRP passes in January) and would represent 3.5% of the stimulus package, while providing 7% of the estimated job creation (200,000 jobs) of the stimulus plan. The plan is asking for one-time, build-out grants, as opposed to vouchers or similar mechanisms.

While it’s clear that the plan applies only to rural telcos which are USF high-cost recipients, it is not clear to what extent the telco would have to build out fiber (e.g. is it to the node or to the home – I infer to that it is fiber to the node, given the bandwidth). It is also not clear whether the funds would also include areas that are served by the Tier 1 telcos. This plan is definitely not as detailed as the Free Press proposal, but many of the elements appear to be very complementary to the Free Press plan.
 

0 thoughts on “And the Independent Telcos Suggest Stimulus

  1. Thanks to Robert Primosch for passing along this tidbit regarding a house appropriations bill that would provide grants of up to $2.825 Billion in grants through the Rural Utilities Service that would extend broadband in those areas where at least 75% of a given area is rural and lacks sufficient access to high speed broadband service (3 Mb/s down, 1 Mb/s up for advanced wireless, 5 Mb/s down, 1 Mb/s up for basic broadband, and 45 Mb/s down, 15 Mb/s up for advanced broadband). http://appropriations.house.gov/pdf/RecoveryBill01-15-09.pdf,

  2. The TelCos have built it before only to see that they didn't come. The stimulus money has been spent and the states are now struggling to find the money to cover expenditures that were established by taxpayer stimulus funds. Their only choice is to raise taxes or cut the programs. If they cut the programs, the coming election is going to be made harder. If they raise taxes, the coming election is going to be made impossible and their already suffering constituents will have even less money to spend on broadband. The TelCos in the meantime will lose more control of their business model and be stuck with government mandates forcing them to maintain a network that no one wants or can afford to pay for.
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