NTIA Pulls Plug on $80M Louisiana Broadband Grant [Multichannel News]
The plan was to deploy 900 plus miles of fiber across Louisiana to serve some of the poorest areas of the state with broadband services. Funding was promised in the form of an $80 million grant from the National Telecommunications & Information Administration (NTIA) as a part of the federal broadband stimulus.
Now, after numerous delays and reports of inadequate planning, the NTIA is pulling all of the funds and canceling the project. Overall, the BTOP program has promised billions of dollars in similar broadband deployment efforts across the country, and the failures in Louisiana shed some light on some of the problems with implementation of the initiative.
An NTIA administrator said that the Louisiana project "promised great benefits to unserved and underserved areas of the state." However, as the project proceeded the initial goals were unable to be met, putting the project significantly behind schedule. At that point, Louisiana proposed significant changes to the proposal without the details and scheduling that would inspire confidence in the program's future.
The funds that have been recouped will now be returned to the U.S. Treasury.