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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Alert: Silicon Valley Governments Call for Federal - State Probes of BayWEB Public Safety Stimulus Grant

StimulatingBroadband.com 10/13/2010 San Francisco - The Mayor of San Jose and the County Executive of Santa Clara County, the two largest governmental bodies in California's Silicon Valley, have now formally issued a call for federal and state probes of the award of a $50 million federal stimulus grant to Motorola, Inc. (now, Motorola Solutions, Inc.; NYSE: MSI).


In a letter dated yesterday, October 12, San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, and Santa Clara County Executive Jeffrey Smith wrote to the U.S. Department of Commerce saying they "are moving forward with a request for an investigation by appropriate state and federal entities."


Among several allegations which directly challenge the public ethics and procurement practices leading up to the $50 million award, are those focused on the agency that did the slection, and its Executive Director.  Ms. Laura Phillips, the agency head "and four of her senior staff are prior employees of the successful grantee, Motorola," states the letter.  Reed and Smith continue "this fact risks compromising the project and the grant process. Without a formal independent investigation, we cannot be sure whether or not local, state, and federal laws or regulations have been violated."


The fact that Ms. Laura Phillips and 3 of her staff closely involved in the selection of Motorola are themselves ex-employees of the Schaumberg, IL based wireless equipment manufacturer was first reported by StimulatingBroadband.com 2 weeks ago, on September 29. Our report detailed the background and activities of Ms. Phillips' agency, the Bay Area Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI), comprised of employees of the City and County of San Francisco.


San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom in 2006 appointed Phillips to head the city's Department of Emergency Management (DEM), following a report by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors that his previous DEM head was both unqualified for the position and had engaged in mismanagement. In 2008 Phillips was shifted to head UASI, a federal granted supported agency for which the City serves as fiscal agent.  


Following our report, there has been a steady increase in media reports about the agency and the broadband stimulus grant issued on August 18 to Motorola by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) of Commerce.


San Jose - Santa Clara Response to NTIA 101210


Resources:
The BayWEB Examination is our compendium of information on the project. We believe it is the most comprehensive such collection available. We have assembled links to all media coverage of the issue, to online documents secured by us from confidential and open sources, to documents secured by others and by this publication under federal and state public records filings, and to our own published reporting.

Note on awardee identification: The project grant was applied for by, and subsequently awarded to, the entity Motorola, Inc., formally traded as (NYSE: MOT). Motorola, Inc. was split into 2 new and separate companies, which both began trading on January 5, 2011.  The network infrastructure side of the business, all public safety equipment lines, and the network integration / management services divisions became Motorola Solutions, Inc. (NYSE: MSI). We have retroactively re-tagged our BayWEB stories with the MSI ticker symbol. 
StimulatingBroadband.com

Friday, October 8, 2010

USDA Works to Open New Broadband Funding Effort as Stimulus Round Ends

Adelstein Gives Final Stimulus Count at 320 Awards for $3.529 billion, Pitches $1 Billion for Telecom in Farm Bill
StimulatingBroadband.com 10/08/2010 San Francisco - Last Thursday Round 2 broadband stimulus applicants not yet receiving word of their possible funding awards waited in their offices across the nation, each with some level of anxiety. They wanted to know if the U.S. Department of Agriculture would smile on their applications for grants and loans - the very last to be issued under the federal program. In Atlanta on the same day at a USDA seminar, the proverbial smart money had no such anxiety. 


Administrator Jonathan S. Adelstein,
Rural Utilities Service, USDA
Service providers to rural America that had successfully navigated stimulus funding challenges attended the invitation-only event in Atlanta, award documents in-hand. These providers, while busy with the details of award compliance, disbursement, and reporting,  were looking for hints on how and when USDA will launch new rural telecom loans from Farm Bill appropriations.


Thursday September 30 marked the last day under federal law which the 2 agencies administering the Obama Administration's $7.2 billion broadband stimulus program had to award grants and loans to applicants planning to bring broadband infrastructure and adoption programs to under- and unserved areas of the nation. USDA's Rural Utilities Service (RUS) announced 4 final awards totaling $18.280 million Thursday, bringing the award cycle of the program to a close.


Attendees at the Atlanta workshop for Round 2 recipients reported that the sessions were far better organized than previous efforts held for Round 1 awards. "The RUS presentation how to run the loan/grant program was much more detailed, clear and concise this week in Atlanta, than the workshop for Round 1 award winners held in Dallas," said Liz Zucco of MarketSys USA based in Canton, GA.


"The agency gave easy to understand instructions about how to manage award winners' loans and grants. In addition, having attended a number of one-on-one sessions with RUS General Field Representatives, I can assure you that the program will be well articulated and well-managed with as little stress on winners as possible," concluded Zucco, who supports federal grant winners.


RUS Chief Gives Final Numbers, Points to $1 Billion in Rural Telecom Support
The following day in a speech to city telecom regulators, Jonathan S. Adelstein, Administrator of the USDA's Rural Utilities Service (RUS), officially declared the broadband stimulus award rounds over, and corrected the final tally of RUS stimulus grants issued the previous day. As if in response to the most prescient questions from the stimulus awardees gathered in Atlanta earlier in the week, he outlined the new federal funding opportunities his agency is now working to launch.


As he addressed the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors (NATOA), the group representing mostly city based local telecom regulators and municipal broadband advocates, Adelstein gave a final figure for the total funds awarded by his agency in the program. "To be exact," he stated "I'm pleased to report that RUS has made 320 awards for $3.529 billion." That figure was a slight "true up" accounting for all awards made, given that USDA had issued a statement that the previous day that 307 projects at $3.6 billion had been awarded.


Key to the understanding the impact of the broadband stimulus program to the telecom sector is an issue we have reported on repeatedly in the past: loan leverage. "And by leveraging our funding," said Adelstein to the NATOA audience, "to provide loans as well as grants, we've been able to stretch our $2.5 billion appropriation from Congress to over $3.5 billion dollars."


With stimulus funds now awarded, and disbursements slowly rolling into the field, attention now turns to Farm Bill appropriations for continued capital investment assistance for rural telecom. "We at RUS will continue to use our existing telecommunications and broadband loan programs - over $ 1 billion a year in loans and grants - to finance more broadband projects." 


As we reported last Thursday, telecom executives like Bill Wallace of Digital Bridge Corporation, a RUS stimulus winner in both funding rounds, are already tracking moves in Congress and USDA which will continue and expand rural broadband funding. 


At the Atlanta workshop, Ms. Zucco, the federal grant consultant specialized in rural telecom, spoke with one of Adelstein's key deputies who will mange the programs going forward. "This is going to be an important program and according to Program Director Ken Kuchno at RUS, the new application guide for the traditional Broadband Loan program should be available towards the end of the year." StimulatingBroadband.com 

Governor Perdue Breaks Ground for North Carolina's MCNC Stimulus Funded Fiber Network

StimulatingBroadband.com 10/08/2010 San Francisco - North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue (D-NC) at this hour is presiding over a ground breaking ceremony in Hickory that launches construction of the stimulus funded North Carolina Research and Education Network (NCREN). Perdue is being joined by other state and federal officials at the headquarters of  CommScope, Inc. (NYSE: CTV) for the event. NCREN, operated by the non-profit MCNC, is one of the largest recipients of broadband stimulus funds in the nation.  


North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue (D-NC)
“We are embarking on a public-private partnership that will literally change the way North Carolina communicates with the rest of the world,” Gov. Perdue said. “From the mountains to the coast, broadband access is a difference-maker for rural North Carolina. And, it’s a great example of how our state is leading America’s recovery.”


Over the 2 funding rounds of the federal broadband stimulus program, MCNC, headed by North Carolina tech sector veteran Joe Freddroso, has won a total of $104 million in middle mile grants from the U.S. Department of Commerce. MCNC won $28.2 million in funding in Round 1, and $75.5 million in Round 2. The NCREN expansion project is slated to create jobs in these regions and bring critical broadband infrastructure to 37 counties in the state, according to a MCNC press release issued at the start of the event.


MCNC's August Vendor Proposal Round
MCNC announced today that three companies have been selected to share an estimated $20 million for construction related to the expansion of the NCREN.  A fourth company was chosen for an additional $1.8 million contract for the optical design portion of the project. A fourth company was chosen for an additional $1.8 million contract for the optical design portion of the project.


As we reported in early September, CommScope which is hosting today's event, was previously awarded a major portion of the supply contract for optical fiber cable for the NCREN stimulus-financed build. Middle mile fiber projects like NCREN comprise the largest segment of the total $6.9 billion awarded under the federal program ($302 million was removed by Congress in August from the initial $7.2 billion appropriation), for everything from state broadband mapping projects to terrestrial and wireless telecom infrastructure. CommScope and the other domestic fiber producers will lead the telecom sector as those firms most benefiting from this portion of the stimulus package.  


MCNC sought proposals from qualified contractors in August to construct a new fiber-cable network to connect community anchor institutions (universities, community colleges, schools, libraries, county offices and more) to a statewide fiber-optic network.


For segments in the west, a contract was awarded to Fiber Technologies, Inc., a Quanta Services company (NYSE: PWR). Under the agreement, Fiber Technologies will install approximately 200 miles of fiber in the west that includes segments from Hickory to Lenoir, Asheville to Old Fort, Enka to Sylva, and Hendersonville to Huntersville. Fiber Technologies specializes in the construction of aerial and underground fiber optic telecommunications networks for local exchange carriers,


Globe Communications, LLC, a specialized utility contractor providing a variety of services to the cable television, power and telecommunications industry, was chosen for segments in the east that includes about 220 miles starting in Rocky Mount and running through Greenville, New Bern, Morehead City, and Jacksonville before ending in Wilmington.


Comtech Technical Services, LLC of Hildebran, NC was selected for all fiber splicing related to this portion of the project, and Cisco Systems (NASDAQ: CSCOhas been chosen for the optical design portion of the project.


Perdue, as we have previously reported, was a strong advocate for the educational value of NCREN when she served as Lieutenant Governor of the Tar Heel State.  Now in her first term as chief executive, she has joined a select few of other Democratic governors in leading the national broadband stimulus tally with big dollar total awards for state network projects. StimulatingBroadband.com  

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Strickling of NTIA Stands Behind Controversial $50 Million San Francisco BayWEB Public Safety Grant

Assistant Commerce Secretary Will "Consider Legitimate Inquiries of Local Jurisdictions,” Silicon Valley Officials Not Satisfied
  
StimulatingBroadband.com 10/05/2010 San Francisco - Assistant U.S. Commerce Secretary Lawrence E. "Larry" Strickling is expressing the Commerce Department's continued support of the disputed $50 Million broadband stimulus grant made by his agency to Motorola, Inc. (now, Motorola Solutions, Inc.; NYSE: MSI) for a public safety wireless project called BayWEB, slated to support multiple cities and counties in Northern California.

Lawrence E. Strickling, Assistant Secretary of
Commerce and Administrator of NTIA
Statement Requested from Locke, Issued by Strickling
Stimulatingbroadband.com had asked media personnel in the Office of Commerce Secretary Gary Locke last week the Secretary’s reaction to the serious statements by officials being made against the BayWEB award, and the current status, if any, of a review requested in early September by 2 of those officials.  Today’s statement from Assistant Secretary Strickling, which makes no reference to the requested review, is the response given to our inquiries.  

The BayWEB project is 1 of 5 of the first broadband regional public safety wireless networks around the nation to be funded by the federal government.  Special authorization to use the 700 MHz frequency spectrum enabling these systems was authorized earlier this year under a series of region by region waivers issued by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). BayWEB has become increasingly controversial as officials from 2 of the largest jurisdictions which it is slated to serve have issued serious criticisms of the project’s procurement and selection guidelines. 

The BayWEB application was awarded after going through a highly competitive grant process at the Department of Commerce,” said Strickling in a statement issued to this publication this morning. “When we made this grant award, BayWEB had the support of all of the local governments involved in the project. While we would take into consideration the result of any legitimate inquiries conducted by local jurisdictions that concern a grant, NTIA and the Department of Commerce has thoroughly vetted this project, as we did with all our BTOP awards,” said Strickling. 

“We will continue working with the Bay Area and Motorola through the procurement and beyond for the benefit of the Bay Area and its citizens. It is our hope that all parties involved will be able to work together moving forward," concluded Administrator Strickling in a written statement sent to this publication by his spokesperson, Ms. Moira Vahey.

“Inquiries Conducted by Local Jurisdictions”
The Assistant Secretary’s statement relating to “any legitimate inquiries conducted by local jurisdictions that concern a grant” is significant in view of the 2 current examinations of the BayWEB procurement and selection process now underway.

Last Friday we reported that San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera was beginning to look at BayWEB, as his spokesperson stated to us he launched an effort to “address” the “concerns expressed by area jurisdictions” about the project.  Mr. Herrera remains the only elected official in the City and County of San Francisco to have made a public statement to date about charges lodged against the BayWEB federal award.


As we reported last week, the selection process that resulted in Motorola acting on behalf of regional governments to apply for and win the $50 million federal grant was managed by an agency comprised of San Francisco employees reporting into the City’s Department of Emergency Management (DEM).  The director of that agency, called the Bay Area UASI, and 3 of her staffers most closely associated with the selection of Motorola, are ex-employees of Motorola itself.

Additionally, the Grants Management division of the California Emergency Management Agency (CalEMA) is conducting a review of the BayWEB selection process.  The General Counsel’s Office of CalEMA, an arm of state government headed by an appointee of California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA), is complying with a request of this publication under the California Public Records Act (CPRA) to release all documents produced and submitted as part of the review of BayWEB.     
  
Reaction from The Valley
Reaction from the 2 leading critics of BayWEB to Larry Strickling’s comments made to this publication was swift and pointed.

San Jose is the largest city in Northern California, and the hub of Silicon Valley.  The City’s chief executive, Mayor Chuck Reed, has continued since his first letter calling for suspension of the project on September 8 to express strong concern about the appropriateness, under state and local public procurement law, of the selection of Motorola to act on behalf of the regional municipalities.


“When San Jose staff submitted a letter of support for the Motorola grant in early June, they did not have all of the facts about the project, but were optimistic that it would benefit the region,” said Reed’s press secretary and senior policy aide, Ms. Michelle McGurk, to us today when we asked for comment on Strickling’s statement. “Four months later, concluded the San Jose aide, “we still do not have all the facts, but the more we learn our level of concern about the procurement process increases.”

Santa Clara County Executive Jeffrey Smith had a response which is stark in its brevity and focus. “Not true,” responded Smith when this publication asked his deputy, Ms. Emily Harrison, Dr. Smith’s reaction to the Strickling statement.  When asked to clarify Dr. Smith’s remarks, Ms. Harrison said “It refers to the entire statement, starting with the highly competitive process.”

Strickling heads the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), reporting to U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke.  NTIA administers $4.6 billion of the total $7.2 billion of the Obama Administration’s broadband stimulus program within the Recovery Act of 2009. NTIA issued the $50.593 million award to Motorola for BayWEB in a large multi-project announcement made by Vice President Joseph Bien on August 18.  NTIA administers its portion of the broadband stimulus effort through what it calls its Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP), as referenced by Strickling. 

The balance of appropriations made by Congress to the broadband stimulus program is managed by the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) of the Department of Agriculture. RUS issued the last award of the entire program last week. 


Resources:
The BayWEB Examination is our compendium of information on the project. We believe it is the most comprehensive such collection available. We have assembled links to all media coverage of the issue, to online documents secured by us from confidential and open sources, to documents secured by others and by this publication under federal and state public records filings, and to our own published reporting.

Note on awardee identification: The project grant was applied for by, and subsequently awarded to, the entity Motorola, Inc., formally traded as (NYSE: MOT). Motorola, Inc. was split into 2 new and separate companies, which both began trading on January 5, 2011.  The network infrastructure side of the business, all public safety equipment lines, and the network integration / management services divisions became Motorola Solutions, Inc. (NYSE: MSI). We have retroactively re-tagged our BayWEB stories with the MSI ticker symbol. 
StimulatingBroadband.com 

Friday, October 1, 2010

San Francisco City Attorney Begins Look at Ethical Charges in Broadband Stimulus Grant

Herrera Becomes First SF Official to State an Examination of BayWEB Has Begun
StimulatingBroadband.com 10/01/2010 San Francisco - San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera is starting an internal effort to "address" the "concerns expressed by neighboring jurisdictions" about a $ 50 million federal broadband stimulus grant arranged by a City agency and issued to Motorola, Inc. (now, Motorola Solutions, Inc., NYSE: MSI) for an emergency wireless network called BayWEB.


Dennis Herrera, San Francisco City Attorney
As we reported this morning and earlier this week, Mayor Chuck Reed of San Jose and Santa Clara County Executive Jeff Smith are the lead local officials in Northern California challenging the legitimacy of a $50 million federal grant for a 700 MHz. public safety communications network.  The BayWEB project was selected via a highly questioned local procurement / selection process manged by an appointee of San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom. 


The appointee, Ms. Laura Phillips, who heads a division of the City's Department of Emergency Management (DEM) is reported to have begun a 2 week sick leave by staff reporter Mary Duan in today's edition of the San Jose Business Journal.

Herrera is the separately elected chief civil law officer of the City and County of San Francisco.  He is the only San Francisco elected official who has responded with any public comment relative to the widening charges of ethical and procurement misconduct relating to the grant as voiced by elected officials heading other large governmental bodies in Northern California. Herrera, 48, has the duty of serving as legal counsel to all city agencies, while also being the oversight officer for all federal stimulus activities of city government.

This afternoon Herrera's office gave StimulatingBroadband.com a detailed written statement that touches on this dual role, and the cautionary legal process that bifurcated role demands.  Herrera's press secretary, Matt Dorsey, responded to our inquiries with this statement:
  • "City Attorney Herrera is aware of concerns expressed by neighboring jurisdictions about the BTOP grant, and his office is engaged in internal discussions with his client departments about how we may address them.  
  • At this stage, it would be premature for us to comment other than to confirm that the City Attorney is aware of the concerns, and is looking into them.
  • When President Obama signed the Recovery Act into law, he challenged all public officials to prove to the American people that their trust in government isn't misplaced.  That's a challenge City Attorney Herrera takes very seriously, and that's why he convened a task force to oversee legal aspects of stimulus spending in San Francisco.
Now, that doesn't mean there won't be disagreements over how stimulus dollars are spent.  But it does mean when legitimate questions are raised, we owe nothing less than legitimate answers.  Right now, we're looking into it and working to get them," concluded the written statement received from Mr. Dorsey on behalf of the City Attorney.  



The BayWEB Examination is our compendium of information on the project. We believe it is the most comprehensive such collection available. We have assembled links to all media coverage of the issue, to online documents secured by us from confidential and open sources, to documents secured by others and by this publication under federal and state public records filings, and to our own published reporting.

Note on awardee identification: The project grant was applied for by, and subsequently awarded to, the entity Motorola, Inc., formally traded as (NYSE: MOT). Motorola, Inc. was split into 2 new and separate companies, which both began trading on January 5, 2011.  The network infrastructure side of the business, all public safety equipment lines, and the network integration / management services divisions became Motorola Solutions, Inc. (NYSE: MSI). We have retroactively re-tagged our BayWEB stories with the MSI ticker symbol. StimulatingBroadband.com

Silicon Valley Officials Challenge Ethics & Disclosure on Broadband Stimulus Award to Motorola

StimulatingBroadband.com 10/01/2010 San Francisco - The 2 chief executives representing the largest local governments in Silicon Valley have each made new moves to strongly challenge a $50 million broadband stimulus grant issued by the U.S. Department of Commerce for a public safety network slated to serve their area.


Chuck Reed, San Jose Mayor
San Jose city mayor Chuck Reed last week filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with the U.S. Department of Commerce demanding release of the application filed by Motorola, Inc. (now Motorola Solutions, Inc; NYSE: MSI) which resulted in the award by Commerce of the controversial San Francisco Bay Area Wireless Enhanced Broadband Project (BayWEB).


Reporter Mary Duan of the San Jose Business Journal just broke the Reed - FOIA story in the online edition of her publication, part of the national American City Business Journal chain.   


Separately, Santa Clara County Executive Jeffrey Smith yesterday tersely responded to the claims made by the San Francisco city department head who engineered local and congressional support for the award of federal funds to Motorola. Smith issued his response in a letter dated September 30.  The San Francisco official, Ms. Laura Phillips, an appointee of Mayor Gavin Newsom, is herself a former employee of Motorola.


Phillips was appointed by Newsom to head the city's Department of Emergency Management (DEM) in 2006 as the city's Board of Supervisors demanded the removal of Ms. Annmarie Conroy, a Newsom patronage appointee. Ms. Phillips now heads a semi-autonomous agency within DEM called the Bay Area Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI).  UASI, supported with federal funds from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), presides over a complex group of inter-related regional governmental bodies intended to coordinate interoperable emergency communications throughout much of Northern California.



StimulatingBroadband.com reported on Wednesday that Ms. Phillips and the 3 personnel on her staff at UASI most directly responsible for managing the Motorola local selection, and support of the Commerce award are former Motorola employees.  With Ms. Phillips, they collectively have more than 45 years of service with the company.  Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) issued the grant award to Motorola for the BayWEB project on August 18.


Dr. Jeffrey Smith, Santa Clara County Executive
Newsom was quoted in a press release issued by Motorola the following day applauding the BayWEB grant, saying, "I am proud that, working together with our cities and our law enforcement agencies throughout the region, the Bay Area will now be one of the nation's first regions to deploy this innovative emergency broadband communications network."  


No Responses
Staff in Newsom's office have not responded to any calls or messages asking what the Mayor is doing to respond to the criticism from officials in the region. Similarly, in off the record statements made to us, both senior officials and line agency managers at governments in Northern California have expressed frustration directed against the Newsom Administration and the Mayor himself for the escalating BayWEB imbroglio. These public sector employees criticize the lack of information provided by Phillips and UASI in response to numerous questions about the agency's actions.  To a person, they question why Newsom himself has not intervened in the issue, especially given his current status as Democratic nominee for Lieutenant Governor of California.


Media staff assigned to the Office of U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and to NTIA Administrator Lawrence Strickling have also not returned our inquiries about a review of the BayWEB award triggered by a September 8 letter from Reed and Smith. 


Resources:
The BayWEB Examination is our compendium of information on the project. We believe it is the most comprehensive such collection available. We have assembled links to all media coverage of the issue, to online documents secured by us from confidential and open sources, to documents secured by others and by this publication under federal and state public records filings, and to our own published reporting.

Note on awardee identification: The project grant was applied for by, and subsequently awarded to, the entity Motorola, Inc., formally traded as (NYSE: MOT). Motorola, Inc. was split into 2 new and separate companies, which both began trading on January 5, 2011.  The network infrastructure side of the business, all public safety equipment lines, and the network integration / management services divisions became Motorola Solutions, Inc. (NYSE: MSI). We have retroactively re-tagged our BayWEB stories with the MSI ticker symbol. StimulatingBroadband.com  
      

USDA Ends Broadband Stimulus Program at 307 Projects for $3.6 Billion

StimulatingBroadband.com 10/01/2010 San Francisco - The U.S. Department of Agriculture has issued a total of $3.6 billion for 307 projects under its portion of the federal broadband stimulus program. USDA yesterday gave out its final project awards, making 4 project funding announcements for a total of $18.5 million. The 307 projects were issued for 45 states and the territory of American Samoa.


Congress gave the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) of the Department loan writing authority which enabled the $2.5 billion in appropriations given to RUS to be leveraged into the total $3.6 billion.   As we reported yesterday, the leverage ratio achieved by RUS across the entire program, and which changed from loan to loan issued, made it impossible to specifically predict how much in total funds the agency would issue as funding Round 2 moved ahead.  President Obama himself launched the award announcement cycle for Round 2 on July 2 with a brief press event on the tarmac at Andrews Air Force Base as he flew to attend funeral services for the late Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV).


Under federal law all broadband stimulus program awards had to be made by midnight yesterday, September 30th.  Congress initially appropriated a total of $7.2 billion for the effort, with the $2.5 billion assigned to USDA, and the balance of $4.7 billion assigned to the U.S. Department of Commerce. In August Congress cut $302 million from Commerce's side of the total appropriations for the program. 


RUS ended its broadband stimulus program yesterday with a whimper rather than a bang.  USDA made its last announcement, for a $7.75 million microwave backhaul project in rural Nevada, by late morning Washington time.  The Department did not announce however that its final award had been made.  StimulatingBroadband.com published an update at 5:00 PM Washington time stating that RUS was continuing awards, based on information we received from the agency.  That information proved to be incorrect.  StimulatingBroadband.com
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