The Recovery Act

3:45 PM -- In case you've been pondering the meaning of the ARRA for telecom, as I have, here's a helpful link:


That's the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, in all its glory.

For now I'm obsessing on the part of the act (pages 8 and 9) where the Rural Utilities Service is being given $2.5 billion for broadband loans and loan guarantees.

The ARRA states that priority for awarding such funds "shall be given to project applications for broadband systems that will deliver end users a choice of more than one service provider."

But it also says "priority for awarding funds made available under this paragraph shall be given to projects that provide service to the highest proportion of rural residents that do not have access to broadband service."

I'm assuming that, based on the order and wording of those priorities, the intent of the ARRA's broadband provisions is to help put folks to work and, if it works out, to blanket some of the more barren parts of the nation with broadband access.

Does everyone agree with that?

Also, it seems RUS borrowers get priority over non-borrowers. So does that mean cable companies won't have as good a shot at these funds?

The message boards await the wisdom of our readers.

— Phil Harvey, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading

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