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The Podium

Friday, July 10

A Problem With Words

By Brad

As the broadband stimulus train rolls on, worries are emerging that wording in the government’s NOFA may mean urban areas will be left out. At the heart of the problem is the definitions of “un-served” and “underserved.” Steve Ferguson, CIO of San Jose, California points out that

language in the ARRA passed by Congress in February listed “un-served” and “underserved” as acceptable eligibility qualifications, but didn’t rule out areas that lacked “underserved” or “un-served” status.

If that inconsistency isn’t cleared up, it makes any attempt for stimulus money in an urban city a virtual impossibility,” Ferguson said, later adding, “We felt like we had a number of very good candidate projects that fit.”

Under the current wording, Ferguson says, a project to wire a fire station in downtown San Jose with fiber wouldn’t receive funding.

Expect the language to be changed soon.