Today, Arik Hesseldahl and I broke some news on the broadband beat. Colorado, Ohio, Tennessee, and Virginia are all aggressively going after some of the $7.2 billion being handed out by the federal government as part of the stimulus program.
Here’s the top of our story.
On the campaign trail and in the White House, President Barack Obama has embraced the idea of providing high-speed Internet access to every community in America. But the plans for universal broadband have gotten off to a rocky start. Some technology executives complain that the $7.2 billion allocated in the federal stimulus plan isn’t half the amount needed to do the job. Telecom companies, including AT&T (T) and Verizon Communications (VZ), are so wary of the program’s potentially onerous rules—the strings that usually come attached with federal money—that they may sit out the first round of grants.
Now, the Obama Administration’s broadband plan looks to be getting a new group of unexpected partners: state and local governments eager to play a leading role in bringing fast Internet connections to the nooks and crannies of the American landscape. Colorado, Ohio, Tennessee, and Virginia are planning to seek broadband stimulus money, BusinessWeek has learned. Tennessee says it expects to receive as much as $150 million in broadband grants.