The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration and Agriculture Department’s Rural Utilities Service should not have asked for public feedback on how to effectively get broadband stimulus funds to applicants who should be receiving them before they announced the winners of the first round of grants, a top technology official said Tuesday morning.
Virginia Deputy Secretary of Technology Karen Jackson said “we drew back on our feedback … so as not to jeopardize any applicants.”
She continued by advising potential fund applicants to “start conversations with contacts at the local level now” and to form partnerships with local entities.
Virginia received 9,000 stimulus funding applications and the application process moves quickly, added Jackson in remarks she delivered at an event held by the Northern Virginia Technology Council Business to Government Committee and the Telecommunications Industry Association on the state of the stimulus funding allocated by Congress in January.
NTIA and RUS have delayed announcing the first round of grant awards and said they will limit the remaining grant awards to one more round of funding, which they wrote in a report to Congress “will begin early in 2010.”
“NTIA will not conclude the first round of BTOP funding at the end of 2009 as originally targeted, but is on course to do so in February 2010,” it told Congress. John Kuykendall, a vice president of John Staurulakis, said that applicants for broadband stimulus funding had to apply to the programs at both NTIA and RUS.