The cable, satellite, and wireless industries got together Monday to tell the National Telecommunications & Information Administration that it should allow private companies to apply for the $4.7 billion in broadband stimulus grant money without having to partner with governments or other eligible entities.
Others argued that private entities were the ones that had thus far left the communities at issue without broadband, or without broadband of sufficient speeds and reasonable prices, and therefore needed to work in tandem with the government if they wanted a shot at the money.
That debate came at the second of a series of public meetings on the grant/loan program, this one focusing on the eligibility of private entities, an issue of obvious importance to the cable broadband service providers and networks seeking some of that money.
The way the economic stimulus package law was written, governments, nonprofits and tribal organizations are all free to apply for the money, but private entities like service and network providers can only apply if the NTIA determines it is in the public interest.
The morning session at NTIA's Washington headquarters on private sector eligibility was part of the process of helping the agency decide how to make that call.