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GOP Senators Call Broadband Stimulus Projects Questionable

in Broadband Data/Recovery Act by

WASHINGTON, December 10, 2009 – Senators John McCain, R-Ariz., and Tom Coburn, R-Okla., are claiming that a number of stimulus funds allocated to technology-related projects have been wasted, mismanaged, or directed toward shortsighted projects.

According to the lawmakers, poor investment choices include funding for a broadband Internet infrastructure map, a digital television ad campaign and a California computer system.

For the ad campaign, the report found that “an ad agency was hired for $6 million one month before the switch to digital television – and reported creating three jobs with the money.” McCain and Coburn say that “in 2002, California received $66 million to upgrade its computers for the unemployment insurance program. But spent the money on other things and just got another $60 million in stimulus for the same project.”

The lawmakers also claim that the $350 million awarded to states from the Department of Commerce to build a map of its broadband Internet infrastructure, duplicates existing maps.

“Rather than spend $350 million on the project, one firm said it could map the whole nation for $3.5 million – one percent of the cost. Or, anyone with a computer could Google it – for free,” concludes a summary of the report.

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