Sunday, May 31, 2009

USA: NTIA chief promise to develop accurate metrics for the $7.2Bn broadband stimulus package

[techdailydose] Larry Strickling, President Obama's pick to head the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, said his agency should develop metrics "to accurately and demonstrably" show whether the $7.2 billion in broadband funds contained in the economic stimulus package are being used appropriately and whether the program is achieving the goals established under the statute. His comments on the program were part of written responses to questions asked by Senate Commerce ranking member Kay Bailey Hutchison after his confirmation hearing Tuesday. The committee approved his nomination and that of Aneesh Chopra, Obama's choice to become the government's first chief technology officer, on Wednesday afternoon.

"There are a number of outcomes that could be used to show that unserved communities benefit from this program, including households passed with broadband service, speed of Internet service, jobs created, affordability of broadband offerings, and adoption of broadband service," Strickling wrote, noting NTIA will require grant recipients to regularly report their progress. In addition to transferring $10 million to the inspector general for oversight, NTIA has pursued transparency through public meetings and by soliciting public comment, he said. If confirmed, Strickling said he would ensure a "robust program of inspection and audits" is implemented and as the program expands, will provide information about applicants and recipients as well as quarterly reports.

Strickling also pledged to work with the committee to "find the most appropriate way to prevent copyright piracy and other illegal activities" in connection with the stimulus mandate that funded networks adhere to yet-to-be-determined "openness" requirements. "Although the Internet has, of course, fundamentally altered our lives for the better, as you know, every year billions of dollars in stolen copyrighted works are exchanged over the Internet," Hutchison warned.

Strickling: Stimulus Will Be Spent Wisely

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