News | NTIA-RUS Forums | Day 6, Sessions 3
WASHINGTON, March 25, 2009 – The final session of the NTIA/RUS public forums on implementing broadband stimulus legislation focused on the role that broadband deployment can play in economic development
Bob Atkinson of the Columbia University Institute for Tele-Information, and the moderator for most of the sessions in a marathon six days of public meetings by the Commerce and Agriculture Departments, set the session in motion by asking the panelists and public to “provide the NTIA and RUS with good ideas about how we promote community economic development through the broadband stimulus program.”
Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and Agriculture’s Department’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS) co-sponsored the six days’ worth of joint meetings. Of the total, four days’ sessions were held in the Commerce Department’s auditorium, and two day’s worth were held in Las Vegas and Flagstaff, Ariz.
The topic of community economic development on Tuesday brought the jobs creation provision of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) under the spotlight. It also brought out a diverse contingent of eight panelists.
The panelists were the U.S. Pan-Asian-American Chamber of Commerce, the National Rural Health Association, the National Emergency Number Association, Ronson Network Services Corp., the National Association of Development Organizations, the Rural Local Initiatives Support Corporation, the Communications Workers Of America and Argent Associates.
Much of the ideas offered by the panelists were long recitations of existing programs that might be leveraged. No good cause was left unheralded.
As was evident in the prior panels, panelists and questioners made passionate pleas to use contract law and administrative rule-making procedures to further their proposed interests in the allocation process.
Given the enormity of the topic and broad constituent base of the panelists, the public and participants struggled to make sense of the implications of ubiquitous broadband for community economic development.
No one advocated the phrase “build it and they will come,” but everyone agreed that a health care, emergency services and education were essential to attracting businesses to a community. Everyone agreed that broadband was essential. In other words, building-out broadband does not create certainty, it is merely necessary to be a viable economic contender.
Individuals familiar with implementing federally community economic development said that process and political inertia would establish reporting terms whose efforts would be judged by the number of jobs created.
The panelists offered several examples of existing models that could be used to make estimates.
No one asked if measuring the number of jobs created by broadband stimulus was a good idea. No one asked if existing jobs estimating models were even relevant to the new paradigm offered by ubiquitous broadband. It was taken as a given.
Small business concerns were vocal, especially disadvantaged small businesses. Their appeals for codifying small business participation in the grant and loan process appeared to include an assumption that standard procurement practices would govern the NTIA/RUS grants.
Additionally, no one addressed the schedule impact of sorting out North American Industrial Classification Codes (NAICs) and associated size standards. No one questioned whether the 8a certification for disadvantaged small businesses imposed constraints upon an owner’s net worth that would affect the ability of such a firm to draw the required capital.
The panel and audience were uncomfortable with the tension between quick economic job creation and careful community business development, which can take years to accomplish.
Success in community development is measured on a scale of two to ten years, and not 10 months to two years. Susan Au Allen, the national president of the U.S. Pan Asian American chamber of commerce summed it up well:
“Because long-term, to achieve community economic development in many of the communities across a very diverse rural America, this is going to be a patient process, and it takes a lot of time, and as the people at USDA know, since they have an active rural development program, you know, this is not something you can achieve overnight.”
The frenzied pace of stimulus leaves many concerned that “things will happen so fast that we will be left out,” said Allen.
- At Silicon Flatirons, UN Representative Says World Must Stand By Twitter in Battle of Intimidation with Trump
- Partisan Disagreement Delays Broadband Funding That Might Come Through HEROES Act
- Gary Bolton: Under the Stress of COVID-19, the Networks That Held Fast Were Symmetrical Fiber Broadband
- Broadband is Vital to the Future of Sports, Says Owner of Washington Capitals and Wizards
- Amid Responses to Section 230 Executive Order, Trump-Twitter Dispute Over ‘Censorship’ Continues to Escalate
Signup for Broadband Breakfast
Congress5 days ago
Senators Introduce Healthcare Broadband Bill as House Companion, Proposes $2 Billion Telehealth Expansion
China1 month ago
China Expert Predicts that Nation’s Flawed Coronavirus Response Will Damage the Power of Chinese Communist Party
Broadband Data1 month ago
CenturyLink CTO Boasts Success in Handling Coronavirus-Induced ‘Hot’ Networks, Credits Company’s Fiber Push
Big Tech3 weeks ago
The Rise, Reign, and Self-Repair of Zoom
#broadbandlive1 month ago
Broadband Breakfast Live Online on Wednesday, April 29, 2020 – Will the Coronavirus Lead to a Loss of Privacy? Weighing Contact Tracing and Broadband Surveillance
Net Neutrality1 month ago
Public Interest Groups Blast FCC For Refusal to Extend Public Safety Deadline on Net Neutrality Comments
Rural4 weeks ago
Why the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund is So Significant, and How to Succeed in Applying For RDOF
Broadband's Impact1 month ago
Artificial Intelligence Not Very Helpful in Addressing the Coronavirus, Say Experts on Brookings Panel