NCTA, ACA Question Funding for Broadband Projects

Group of associations address concerns in letter to NTIA and Rural Utilities Services

National Telecommunications & Information Administration and Department of Agriculture funding for broadband projects has been applied for in "hundreds of areas" that already get broadband service.

That is according to a group of association presidents including the heads of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, the American Cable Association and the U.S. Telecom Association.

In a letter to NTIA head Larry Strickling and Rural Utilities Service administrator Jonathan Adelstein, the group says it is concerned that the data the agencies are collecting may "inadvertently" provide an inaccurate picture of and compromise the process.

NTIA and RUS are giving out $7.2 billion in broadband stimulus money to go to unserved and underserved areas.

The association heads say that the information supplied by the applicants has made it difficult-to-impossible for their members to examine in the 30 days they have been given to vet and potentially appeal claims of lack of service.

They want changes to the broadband mapping program and time to review new information after the changes have been made.

Comcast EVP David Cohen told reporters Monday that his company planned to provide data to NTIA showing the areas where bids had been submitted but broadband service was already being supplied by Comcast. He said that did not mean that Comcast was serving every last house in those areas, but added that the bids were not to serve only those few but to establish  government-funded networks in competition to already existing Comcast  service.