Broadband Companies to Feds: Keep Your Stimulus Money
Today's roundup of stimulus coverage:
Major broadband carriers are turning their backs on stimulus money, reports The Washington Post. The stimulus package offers $7.2 billion in grants to spread high-speed Internet access, but three big players — AT&T, Verizon and Comcast — have decided not to apply for the funds, according to industry sources. The companies are reportedly concerned about the scrutiny that would come with accepting the money, as well as a condition that would prevent them from favoring some applications and content over others, a rule known as net neutrality.
Meanwhile, the application deadline for some of those broadband grants has been extended — because government servers couldn't handle the broadband traffic. According to a notice (PDF) posted on BroadbandUSA.gov, the deadline for electronic applications has been pushed back a week, because the online application system "has experienced service delays due to the volume of activity from potential applicants."
Should there be a second stimulus package? The New York Times hosted a virtual debate on the question between two economists: Casey B. Mulligan, a professor at the University of Chicago, and Dean Baker, co-director at the Center for Economic Policy Research. Opening arguments took place Monday; the rebuttals were posted today. Who do you think won? E-mail us and we’ll include our favorite responses in a future roundup.
Fox News has released poll results showing that 72 percent of Americans believe giving what's left of the $787 billion in stimulus money to taxpayers would do more to boost the economy than letting the government spend it. A polling company asked (PDF) the following question: "So far only a small amount of the $787 billion dollars in economic stimulus money has been spent. Which do you think would do more to boost the economy -- the government spending the rest of the stimulus money or the government returning the money to the taxpayers?" Just 19 percent of respondents chose the first option, according to Fox.
Are you tracking the stimulus? ProPublica has set up a mailing list for reporters covering the stimulus, and you're welcome to join.
Officials have struggled to spend the nearly $800 billion stimulus package quickly and effectively.