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Anti-Stimulus Money

Craig Matsumoto

6:35 PM -- Most people I'd talked to in recent weeks about the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) grants thought the process would get delayed again. So, I don't think there's much shock that the first round of money is being pushed back a month, into December.

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) told Congress about the delay Tuesday, saying the 2,200 applications were proving difficult to process.

Along with that statement, Congress got to see a U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report saying the NTIA and Rural Utilities Service (RUS) can't keep up with the flow of applications (nor have they had to deal with this kind of volume before).

Imagine what it would have been like if the Tier 1 and Tier 2 carriers all participated. (See Recovery Act: Tier 2 Says 'No Thanks' and Recovery Act: The Undecided Remain.)

The volume of applications apparently had another effect: Rural projects got delayed. That came up at Supercomm last week, when I was talking with Scott Wilkinson, vice president of product management for Hitachi Communication Technologies America Inc. (Hitachi-CTA) .

"They all thought they had a shot, so there wasn't money being spent," he said. "We like to call it 'anti-stimulus money.' "

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

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