Groups Ask NTIA To Make Changes To Rules For Broadband Stimulus Bidding

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A dozen organizations have asked the National Telecommunications & Information Administration to make at least 10 changes/clarifications to its rules for bidding on billions of dollars in broadband stimulus grant and loan money.

NTIA would have to make any changes ASAP since the first round of bidding has already begun and ends in three-and-half weeks.

In the letter, the groups asked for both changes to some parts of the guidelines and clarifications of NTIA's interpretations of other parts. NTIA and the Agriculture Deparment together are giving out $7.2 billion in grant and loan money per the economic stimulus package.

Among the changes they want are to de-emphasize the priority put on unserved and underserved areas and add affordability to the definition of underserved. They also want NTIA to eliminate a provision that allows incumbents to challenge applications for any reason, and to "waive or eliminate the requirement that projects to community anchor institutions have to be in 'unserved' or 'underserved' areas. "

Clarifications would include that "advertised speed" for the purposes of determining underserved means "guaranteed speed."

Groups signing on to the letter include the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors, Public Knowledge, Media & Democracy Coalition, and Consumers Union.