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Advocates Call Broadband Recommendations ‘A Good Start’ | Daily Yonder

Broadband Breakfast Staff



With little hope of creating new spending initiatives for broadband that require congressional approval, the White House has released a report on steps the administration could take on its own to improve programs that support broadband access for poor and geographically remote communities.
The Broadband Opportunity Council released a set of recommendations earlier this week calling for federal agencies to adjust their funding guidelines to allow grantees more flexibility in using money to pay for broadband infrastructure and other digital technology.
The recommendations would make adjustments in programs such as the Ag. Department’s Rural Utilities Service and the Department of Commerce’s New Market Tax Credits.
Some of the changes are minor – for example, changing language on a “frequently asked questions” page to make it clear that tax credits could be used for broadband projects.
In other cases, the recommendations call for agencies to create new rules – a more formal regulatory process – to allow grants or loans to be used for broadband. For example, one recommendation calls for the USDA Community Facilities program – which supports a variety of bricks-and-mortar projects for healthcare, safety, and community centers – to allow grantees to spend funds on broadband projects. In another recommendation, Housing and Urban Development  would allow more flexibility for developers to include broadband connectivity in new publicly supported housing projects.

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Great insights -- from a #ruralbroadband perspective -- of how the #Broadband Opportunity Council report provides great new flexibility for federal, state and local governments.

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