Three key federal agencies have signed an agreement to coordinate their funding for broadband deployment. Included are the FCC’s High-Cost Programs, the USDA’s Rural Utilities Service Programs, and all programs administered or coordinated by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.
The agreement calls for these agencies to share information about planned or existing projects that have received or will receive broadband funds. Participating agencies will be required to exchange information on entities providing broadband, levels of service, geographic scope of coverage, and funds received or planned.
The agreement does not, however, obligate any specific expenditure or commitment of funds, or any transfer of funds among the covered agencies.
With so many programs already in place, and additional legislation on broadband funding being proposed, this interagency agreement appears to be a very worthwhile effort. It should promote cooperation among them by reducing waste and confusion in the broadband arena, while helping to close the Digital Divide.