Friday, February 17, 2012

Happy Birthday Broadband Stimulus 02/17/2012 San Francisco - President Barack Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) into law 3 years ago today, within the first month of his presidency.
President Barack Obama signs the American Recovery and Reinvestment
Act at a Denver ceremony of February 17, 2009 while Vice President Joe Biden
looks on.  Photo: Pete Souza, The White House
For our industry, the stimulus gave us both the National Broadband Plan and the $7.2 billion spending injection of the broadband stimulus program. Taken together these 2 efforts amount to the greatest net positive benefit delivered by government to the sector since the 1996 passage of the Telecom Act. 

This publication has been, and will remain, critical of the broadband stimulus where we find fault in either overall program execution, or in a handful of truly flawed awards. In the 3 years of the stimulus we have attempted to reach beyond the platitudes of left or right by reporting on both accomplishments and problems where we see them. 

We do this because anything of great value is worthy of great improvement. We do this because the goal of bringing  broadband to every American is important for our country. We see every day the broadband stimulus has helped put Americans back to work. The program gave the nation a road map of how and where to extend broadband to all of rural America, if we are smart enough to follow it.

Could the broadband initiatives within the stimulus have been better conceived and executed? Of course they could. Many of us work daily to apply lessons learned from the stimulus to the new funding proposals that enlightened members of both parties are working to implement. 

In all of this we pose a simple question, and give a simple answer:  Would the American telecom industry or rural communities choose to roll back the clock and take the broadband sections out of the ARRA legislation the President signed 3 years ago?  

Not on your life.
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