Monday, October 19, 2009

Alaska Broadband Stimulus: Gov. Parnell Chooses 'Not to Priortize or Recommend' Broadband Projects for Feds

StimulatingBroadband.com 10/19/09 San Francisco - Alaska Governor Sean Parnell (R-AK), in a 7 page filing transmitted to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) last week, stated his choice "not to prioritize or recommend particular Alaska applications" for federal broadband stimulus funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).

Of the 15 state broadband stimulus recommendation filings to NTIA that we have reviewed from around the country to date, StimulatingBroadband.com has found that Governor Parnell's communication to the agency, a branch of the U.S. Department of Commerce, is the only such submittal from a state which chooses not to make ranked recommendations for specific projects.

The governor, in his letter dated October 13, pointed to NTIA's change in the rules, under its Broadband Technology Opportunity Program (BTOP), for state review procedure and sequencing as the central reason for his state's choice not to make prioritized recommendations at this time. His letter states "under the NTIA's original plan for the BTOP application process, the NTIA was going to complete a technical review of all the applications, and then ask states to comment only on the applications that passed technical scrutiny and ranked as the most promising applications."

Gov. Parnell goes on to write in his letter (see: Resources, below) "the 29 BTOP applications that would primarily serve Alaska include many projects that would substantially improve broadband access across the state" and acknowledges "Alaska has the largest unserved and undeserved geographic area of any state in the nation."

Governor Sean Parnell, a 47 year old attorney, was sworn in as Alaska's twelfth governor on July 26 of this year following the resignation of former governor Sarah Palin (R-AK). Palin was famously the Republican nominee for Vice President in 2008. She is now pursuing her own broadband-enabled strategy of using her Facebook updates as her near exclusive means of public communications, according to Chris Cillizza's The Fix column in today's Washington Post. Parnell was elected Lieutenant Governor on the Republican Palin - Parnell ticket in 2006. He has declared his intention to seek reelection as governor in 2010.

Resources: StimulatingBroadband.com's State - NTIA Filings
1. The Alaska filing (7 pages) issued to NTIA may be read and downloaded here (free registration), via our corporate site.

2.
Read all of our state filing stories here: Round I Recommendations to NTIA.
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