Thursday, April 7, 2011

Waiting on the GOP's Rural Broadband Funding Cut 03/07/2011 San Francisco - Should the current federal budgetary Continuing Resolution (CR) pass on Capitol Hill and be signed into law by the President, a cut will be made to the Broadband Loan Program of USDA's Rural Utilities Service (RUS).

Update 12:15 PM: Sources on Capitol Hill and inside USDA are now telling us the situation is critical, and potentially catastrophic for funding of the Broadband Loan Program in the current federal fiscal year.  

We see the numbers, but the actual impacts are still being calculated by the best sources in government and industry we rely on. 

2008 General Election Results, by County
Map: Mark Newman, University of Michigan

A determination of the actual cut to the "program level" of the loan funds which will flow out to projects in the field is being made. That calculation to be made by RUS, as agreed to Congress, turns on the  loan leverage rate to be used. 

In this, as in the threat to shut down the government of the United States, the Republican Party reminds us it is forever capable of shooting itself in its own lifeboats. The last we checked the rural areas of America tend to make people like us who live in places like Boston and San Francisco have bad election nights. 

In fact, we've been saying for well on two years that the Democrats are often fighting only among themselves as their rural representatives on Capitol Hill argue with their urban colleagues over broadband funding priorities.

Why then is it that the GOP is so intent on cutting back programs supporting broadband capital investments, and the larger community developments of USDA, in GOP controlled red states comprised of red and (the all important) purple congressional districts?

As we await the final numbers for the Republican-inspired and executed cut to the first post-stimulus federal broadband capital support program, we will be pondering that question. 

Stay tuned. 

Rural Telecom Funding provides a link to our Mailing List for updates on the dynamic realm of changing budgets, program rules, and funding flows for telecom in rural America.
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