The broadband stimulus is supposed to be a transparent process, with input from experts and from communities at every step. One key representative is the state’s governor. Illinois governor Pat Quinn (D), Blagojevich’s replacement, released his letter concerning the broadband stimulus here.
The letter recommends some of the most expensive proposals. Central Management Services, which manages a fiber network serving over 8,000 schools, is requesting $120 million to upgrade the network to serve 69 counties with 3,838 anchor institutions. It’s a massive project.
The City of Rockford requested $70 million for another massive fiber middle mile project.
Clearwire asked for $30 million to support a $62 million project. Parts of the summary were redacted.
Continue reading ‘Illinois Governor’s Stimulus Letter is Nearly Perfect’ »
The Stimulating Broadband blog does a great job investigating the legality (FOIA?) and implications of the decision of Tom Pawlenty (R) to withhold his recommendations regarding the stimulus from public view. I wonder what he’s afraid of.
I am not too surprised that the governor of Alaska chose to not recommend any one stimulus application in his letter to the NTIA.
No politician — or federal agency — will find it easy to choose between providing service to remote towns, to native Americans, or to Alaska’s islands.
I found the island applications the most interesting. It’s a little-known fact that the Aleutian Islands are the one piece of the USA that was occupied during World War II (by the Japanese). The application to connect the Aleutians by fiber to the mainland would require over $250 million dollars.
North of the Aleutians, in very hostile waters known to any viewer of “Deadliest Catch”, is St. Paul Island, a small community for which one application requests about a million dollars for a satellite uplink and fiber connections to about 125 homes.
But Alaska may not be given even $251 million. Even if the stimulus were divided equally between states, and all of it were available for infrastructure, 1/50th of $7.2 billion would be $140 million. If the stimulus were divided out according to land area, Alaska would get a lot, but the stimulus is more likely to be divided out according to population — and votes.
The governor’s letter notes that there are over 150 communities in Alaska that cannot be reached by road. It’s true that Alaska may have more expensive needs than the rest of the nation … but I doubt the federal government will help. It would be nice if Alaska recinded the payout to Alaskans and used the money instead to build a broadband infrastructure, but that would be politically difficult.
So … the government has some difficult choices to make. I’m not surprised that Alaska’s politicians want to avoid blame for whatever decisions the federal government makes.