Genachowski: FCC Spent $20.6 Million on National Broadband Plan

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The Federal Communications Commission spent $20.62 million to produce the national broadband plan, according to agency chairman Julius Genachowski in a letter to House Communications & Internet Subcommittee ranking member Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.).

Of that, $6.38 million went to salaries -- $2.38 million for broadband work by somewhere north of 300 existing employees and another $4 million for new, temporary employees.

The rest of the money went to information technology ($5.37 million); software and "cost modeling" ($3.92 million); data and research ($4.01 million); workshops and travel ($34,000); and printing and production ($60,000).

Stearns thanked the chairman for his response during a broadband oversight hearing March 25, but suggested that $20 million had been spent to tell him something he knew already -- the success of the private sector in getting broadband to 95% of the country.

Genachowksi was responding to a letter from Stearns asking for details of the plan's staffing and expenses. He asked how the hiring of people from the communications industry squared with the administration's policy "to limit the hiring of, or communication with private sector employees in connection with government generally and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in particular."

The chairman said that the "unprecedented scope" of the broadband plan undertaking required expertise "not readily available in the government."

But he also pointed out that senior members of the broadband team were vetted by an ethics official from the FCC's office of general counsel and those with either potential conflicts or appearance of conflict were not hired.

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