$4.7B later, feds broadband stimulus program has zero completions

As of the third quarter of 2011, no projects from the federal government’s Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) — a technology stimulus program funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) — have been completed.

The Broadband Technology Opportunities Program was designed to fund the development of broadband infrastructure. It was designed in 2009 and the final grants for the project were awarded in 2010. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) — an agency within the Department of Commerce — manages the grant program.

Recovery.gov says that 3,442 jobs were created by BTOP in the third quarter of 2011. BTOP also awarded 648 grants in that quarter, but no contracts or loans. A statement by EDUCAUSE in 2010, meant to give the Obama Administration “good publicity,” said that 233 programs were funded.

When asked what the difference was between grants and programs under BTOP, Dr. Bernadette McGuire-Rivera, the associate director of the Office of Telecommunications and Information Applications — the division that administers and oversees BTOP grants – at NTIA, did not return The Daily Caller’s calls.

The BTOP funds were awarded by September 30, 2010, according to NTIA‘s own description of the program. Recovery.gov states that 2,806 projects, or 81.5 percent, are still less than halfway complete.

“These anticipated benefits will be realized over the life of each project, which must be substantially complete within two years and fully complete within three years,” reads a statement from EDUCAUSE.

The funds awarded for BTOP totaled over $4 billion, and the average award was $6,217,509, according to Recovery.gov. A total absense of loans — and completed projects— already has at least one critic reeling.

“You’d think if BTOP was even marginally successful, the government would want to trumpet that,” wrote Mike Wendy, director of MediaFreedom.org, wrote on his blog. This seems all the more important given the Solyndra debacle and other known (or soon to be known) ARRA infirmities. But, no. Undaunted, the administration continues to adhere to its Keynesian multiplier, pushing for another ‘jobs bill’, which looks like a smaller version of 2009’s ARRA.”

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