Tuesday, February 9, 2010

More evidence of incompetence

The Obama administration knew that there'd be a lot of interest in the $7.2 billion for high-speed Internet projects it included in last year's huge economic stimulus package.

The goal was to quickly create tens of thousands of jobs and connect millions of poor and rural communities to broadband, a technology that's essential for economic development, modern medicine and education.

But officials had no idea that the demand for the cash would be so overwhelming. They also were bombarded with questions and challenges from large cable and phone companies including Comcast, Time Warner Cable and AT&T.

The combination has swamped the agencies in charge and created a bottleneck that might threaten disbursement. After nearly a year, about 7% of the funds has been assigned to specific projects.

As a result, "There's significant doubt as to whether the monies can be awarded before the end of September," when the funding authorization expires, says Dan Hays, who directs the communications practice at consulting firm PRTM.

They're giving away free money, but they "had no idea that the demand for the cash would be so overwhelming"?

So far, the only jobs created by the multi billion dollar high speed Internet promises of the stimulus bill are a few dozen federal bureaucratic positions (to incompetently administer the program).

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