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NTIA Releases Notice of Rule-Making; Announces New Public Meetings on March 16-19, 23 and 24

in Broadband Stimulus/NTIA by

WASHINGTON, March 10 – The National Telecommunications and Information Administration on Monday released a notice of rule-making concerning the broadband initiatives under the fiscal stimulus legislation.

The agency also announced a series of additional public meetings: on March 16, 19, 23 and 24, with field hearings to be held in other locations on March 17 and 18. (At the meeting, the NTIA announced that the March 17 meeting will be held in Las Vegas, and the March 18 meeting will be held in Flagstaff, Ariz.)

The 12-page document, which was also issued with the Agriculture Department’s Rural Utilities Service, puts forward a series of questions to the public regarding the implementation of the $7.2 billion in broadband funds.

The questions were released in advance of a 10 a.m. public meeting at the Commerce Department, the first public meeting regarding implementation of the law, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The meeting is organized by Commerce’s NTIA, the RUS, and the Federal Communications Commission.

The NTIA is expected to webcast the event from the page on its web site devoted to the broadband stimulus, http://www.ntia.doc.gov/broadbandgrants

Among the key questions asked by the notice of rule-making are the role that states will have in the broadband stimulus funds, criterion for eligibility for grants, the mechanics of administering the grants — in general, as well as specific grants for public computer centers, sustainable broadband services, and broadband mapping.

Additionally, the series of questions seeking information about financial contributions by grant applicants – to match the 80 percent from federal funds – plus reporting obligations and conducting performance evaluations of grant recipients.

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