Posts Tagged ‘stimulus’

Fresh Hope for Broadband: 4 States to Apply for Stimulus Funds

April 16, 2009

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.

Click here to read the rest of the story.

Obama’s $8 Billion Broadband Stimulus: Opportunity or Risk for Big Telecom?

March 23, 2009

Check out the new video I shot about the $8 billion Obama broadband stimulus and what it means for the nation’s largest telecom companies such as AT&T, Verizon Communications and Qwest. I shot it in preparation for the big online Web video project launching in late April. Hopefully I can tell you more about this very soon. But in the meantime, please enjoy the video!

In Entrepreneurs We Trust

February 11, 2009

Trust may be the most scarce commodity around right now.

Wall Street can’t be trusted much these days, thanks to the financial crisis and a guy named Madoff. A lot of corporate executives haven’t done much to inspire trust. People have never much trusted their politicians. And even seemingly harmless athletes are finding ways to lose the trust of the public.

So who can you trust these days? Friends and family, of course. But beyond that close circle I would say that in the public sphere entrepreneurs still deserve to be trusted. Entrepreneurs represent the very best of America: They work very hard, they often develop products and services that improve our lives, and they create jobs that help our communities and the nation at large.

So as we continue to try to dig ourselves out of this deep hole, let’s try to keep finding ways to help entrepreneurs and small businessmen and businesswomen. Entrepreneurship flourishes in a climate of economic freedom, with low taxes and little regulation. You don’t hear too much about entrepreneurs in the discussion about the stimulus package and in talk about the economy. Wall Street firms and banks and Detroit seem to hog most of the attention.

But it’s the entrepreneurs and small businesses that will likely play a key role in reviving our animal spirits and lifting us out of this recession. Thomas Friedman of the New York Times wrote a great and timely column today related to this issue when he slammed the Senate’s version of the stimulus, which banned banks and other financial institutions that receive taxpayer bailout money from hiring high-skilled immigrants on temporary work permits known as H1-B visas. More than half of Silicon Valley startups were founded by immigrants over the last decade. It is dumb and shortsighted to keep these industrious and smart folks out of our country–a subject I’ve written about before at BusinessWeek.

General Doriot, the focus of my book, was all about supporting entrepreneurs–from across the globe. The Doriot bucks above inspired me to write this post. Doriot used to give out this fake money at the annual meetings of his venture capital firm American Research & Development. last year, Scott Kirsner of the Boston Globe was kind enough to send me a few of them. And now I am happy to share them with you.

Feds Broadband Bill Disappoints Nearly Everyone

January 17, 2009

Last night, BusinessWeek published a story I co-wrote with my colleague Arik Hesseldahl about the broadband stimulus measures contained in the $825 billion stimulus package released by the House Democrats. The story, Broadband Bill Disappoints Nearly Everyone, is already generating a heated debate on my Facebook page so I thought I’d post the beginning of it here to see if anyone wants to add to the discussion.

Broadband Bill Disappoints Nearly Everyone
Critics say there’s not enough money in the bill and that distributing funds through grants instead of tax credits will hamper job creation

By Spencer E. Ante and Arik Hesseldahl

The initial stab by the U.S. government to promote high-speed Internet access has something to disappoint nearly everyone.

Most communications companies and consumer advocacy groups say the $6 billion in broadband stimulus measures contained in the House Democrats’ $825 billion economic recovery package are a good first step. But they warn that the money won’t be nearly sufficient to meet incoming President Barack Obama’s objective of providing affordable high-speed Internet access to all U.S. households.

“I was incredibly impressed how quickly the House moved,” says Shirley Bloomfield, senior vice-president for federal relations at Qwest Communications (Q), a Denver-based communications provider that serves 14 Western states. “They’ve got some good concepts. But $6 billion is not going to get you to ubiquitous broadband.”

JOB-CREATION EFFECTIVENESS QUESTIONED
Communications providers and various advocacy groups have pegged the cost of creating universal broadband in the tens of billions of dollars. A December 2008 report by the Free Press, an organization devoted to reforming the media, estimated that a broadband infrastructure development program would cost $44 billion over three years. Similarly, the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF), a Washington (D.C.) think tank, projected that providing Internet service to much of the unserved territories in the U.S. would cost about $12 billion. “It’s definitely not enough money,” says Robert Atkinson, founder of the ITIF.

Read the rest of the story here.