UPDATED: NTIA Broadband Stimulus Funding Cut By $302 Million

Amount rescinded to help free up money to pay teachers; Admin will have to pick "strongest projects"
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The National Telecommunications & Information Administration
will have $302 million less in broadband stimulus grant money to give out by
the end of next month, about 10% of what it still has left to hand out in the
next six weeks.

That comes after that amount was rescinded from the BTOP (Broadband
Technology Opportunities Program) to help free up money to pay teachers.

NTIA
is giving out $4.7 billion in grant money for broadband deployment and
adoption. It is in the second round of funding and has to finish giving out the
money by the end of next month. As of July 2, NTIA had given out 113 grants totaling
approximately $1.6 billion, so it has approximately $3 billion to give out by its
Sept. 30 statutory deadline.

"A small portion of the historic $7.2 billion investment the Administration is making is significantly expanding broadband access and adoption," said an administratiom official speaking on background. "About 4% percent was repurposed yesterday to help avert imminent layoffs and meet emergency state funding needs. We continue to steadily award billions of dollars to fund new Recovery Act broadband projects nationwide and our focus now is on investing in the strongest projects possible to make the most of the funds yet to be awarded."

House members returned this week to pass HR 1586, which will help
pay for potentially hundreds of thousands of education jobs that were at risk
in cash-strapped state budgets as the new school year approached, according to
the House Education and Labor Committee
. Congress is not slated to return until
mid-September, after most school bells would have rung in the new academic
year.

NTIA was just one of many agencies to have to take a cut in
funds to help pay the teachers. Others having to share the load included the Departments
of Defense and Agriculture, the Park Service, and ironically, the Department of
Education.

The bill was passed Tuesday and signed by the president. The White
House says the bill prevented up to 160,000 teacher layoffs.

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