Letters to USDA and GAO Regarding Broadband Stimulus Oversight
Excerpt: While the committee recognizes the importance of expanding broadband access to rural areas of the country, we are concerned with suggestions that the BIP program may have been used to overbuild existing systems rather than extend service to areas that legitimately meet the underserved/unserved eligibility requirements. Materials reviewed by committee staff also raise questions as to whether RUS adequately considered the financial viability of the Lake County project before committing $66.4 million in government funding
To read the letter to the Rural Utilities Service at USDA, click here.
Excerpt: As we seek to expand the deployment of broadband infrastructure in a constrained budget environment, the overbuilding of existing broadband networks using federal dollars represents a significant concern. As GAO and others have reported, access to broadband service can improve economic growth and quality-of-life. Yet, overbuilding diverts scarce budget resources from areas without broadband service to areas with service and can impede vital private-sector investment. Given the need to ensure the most efficient and effective use of federal dollars and guard against waste, fraud, and abuse, we ask that GAO conduct an in-depth analysis of work already completed under BIP
To read the letter to GAO, click here.
Read a related press release, here.