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10 June 2009

Comments

Russ Steele

George,

It looks like the broadband stimulus funding proposal rules will not be published until the middle of July by the NTIA. The proposal deadline will be 30 days, with a 60 day review period. Then it will take 30 to 60 days consummate the funding agreements. It is unlikely we will see any of the broadband stimulus money until December of 2009. Once allocated, it has to be spent in 24 months. The economic crisis will be over before stimulus money can be spent.

Without the stimulus the unemployment was to climb to 9 percent, with the stimulus funding only 8 percent. We at almost 10 percent. It does not appear the stimulus is working the way it was intended. In fact it appears to working counter to the intended results. We are now seeing the results of unintended consequences, the path of most government meddling in the free market.

George Rebane

Amen Russ. In an email exchange with one of our local leaders I observed that "Historically recessions recover on their own without catastrophic government deficit spending. Obama and crew are now going to take credit for this recovery to justify their fiscal debacle – next they’ll take credit for all future sunrises."

John S

Thanks George
The graph you have constructed is telling. I hope every County in California does the same to let the folks know exactly what is happening. We hear so much today (in the media) about all of the money flowing. Knowing the TRUTH as to "if it is" and "how much" is important I thought.
We're going to try and keep it simple on our home page so we all can see (at a glance) what is real and what is not.
Stay tuned.

Russ Steele

At a meeting today the with California Public Utilities Commission Staff we found out that the broadband stimulus projects will be audited three times. The NTIA who will the evaluate the proposals and allocate the funds is hiring 400 auditors. The Governor has appointed an auditor and she is hiring staff to audit all stimulus funded projects. The CPUC will also audit all broadband stimulus projects. A triple audit to make sure every dollar is accounted for.

When I was the CEO at Nevada County Community Network we got $8,000 of $1.2 million dollar grant to train people on how to use the Internet. If I had accounted for all the time I spent collecting data and writing reports for the 2 years of the grant, as required by the Federal Government, I would have exceed the $8,000 in just report writing alone. We would never have trained one person, if it had not been for the volunteers and my volunteer report writing effort. My guess more of the stimulus money will go to report writing and responding to audits, then will ever be use to bring broadband to the un-served communities in the Sierra. What place your bet?

Chip Carman

George:

Is there any relation between the lack of Nevada County ARRA funding and -- as I understand it -- Tom McClintock's opinion that we should not be using ARRA funds or that he's not lobbied for any?

As a representative for NCERC (Nevada County Economic Resource Council - Broadband Leadership Council) to lobby and ask support towards Nevada County obtaining broadband stimulus funds through ARRA, myself and others visited Mr. McClintock's office weeks ago -- only to get a polite brush off...

However, as Russ correctly points out regarding broadband stimulus, Federal and State agencies are trying to create criteria to make sure funds are not arbitrarily given to companies without achieving the desired goals.

The impact of these broadband stimulus funds will ricochet throughout the US for 10-20 years. The US, as often reported (not to be substantiated here), is 22nd out of 113 countries in broadband penetration by population...

The speed and price of broadband in the US is nothing short of abysmal. You can get DSL 3Mbps for about $25/mo downloads. In France you can get DSL 6Mbps for about $30/mo downloads. Comcast offers 12Mbps download for about $40/mo and 16Mbps for $67/mo (with no guaranteed speeds and not available to most of Nevada County). Verizon's FiOS at 50Mbps for $50/mo is NOT offered in our area (in fact it's only offered in 17 states in the US!).

While the ARRA broadband stimulus package is providing $7.2 billion for underserved and unserved areas in the US, Australia is spending almost $31 billion to setup up a new broadband network to provide 90% of their country with 100 Mbps access by 2018...

I also was at the June 11 -- SedCorp -- meeting that Russ comments about above. SedCorp, the Sierra Economic Development Corp, is also one of the agencies applying and hoping to administrate awarded ARRA and possibly matching CPUC related grants for Northern Californina... So, can we consider that a 4th auditor?

Russ Steele

Chip,

SEDCorp's goal to be the one dealing with the auditors, allowing the providers to do what they do best, serve the customers. What I find troubling is that the government is setting up a system that will end up auditing the auditors. Is that the best use of the stimulus funds. I think not, sealing with auditors takes time and money from the project, having three levels of auditing takes three time as much money and time. SEDCorp's goal is be protect the participants from excessive intrusion by three levels of auditors, at no cost to the participants.

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