House committee passes broadband stimulus package

The House Energy and Commerce Committee approved legislation that makes at least $1 billion available in wireless broadband grants but keeps open-access provisions that are opposed by the industry alive.

Out of the proposed $825 billion economic stimulus package, some $6 billion will be used for broadband deployments to bridge the digital divide. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration will distribute $2.8 billion in broadband grants with $1 billion going to wireless broadband grants. The Rural Utilities Service is expected to administer the remainder through its broadband loan program.

The House Appropriations Committee did not remove open-access provisions, as the telecom industry had wanted. Industry players don't want to be forced to open their networks up to competitors, if that is indeed the definition the FCC will come up with for open access.

For more:
- see RCR News

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