Broadband agencies hear complaints from all sides


"Our goal is that the money is spent wisely," Strickling said.

On the other hand, Senator George LeMieux, a Florida Republican, complained that the RUS and NTIA had not yet awarded any broadband deployment grants, even though the economic stimulus package was approved by Congress in February.

"I'm all for doing it the correct way," LeMieux said. "We're eight months down the road, and, except for the mapping dollars, we haven't put one dollar on the street yet. We've got people who are hurting and need jobs. That was the purpose of the stimulus appropriation."

Strickling and Adelstein both said the broadband stimulus money created new programs, and they need to review applications thoroughly before giving out grants and loans. "I will not fund a bad application," Strickling said. "Five years from now, after the federal money is long gone, these projects need to continue to be operating and be out there serving their community."

LeMieux suggested that NTIA start issuing grants to good applications immediately, but Strickling said NTIA has to review all the applications before making any decisions. The two agencies received 2,200 applications seeking $28 billion in funding in the first, $4 billion funding round.