Service providers and community organizations that won Rural Utility Service (RUS) broadband stimulus grants now have a longer window of time to finish their projects.
RUS extended the completion deadline to fall of 2015 in the hope that more grant winners will be able to return their funding paperwork so they can get their money.
Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Kathleen Merrigan said during a webinar this week that getting paperwork in is a key issue the agency would like to wrap up quickly.
"We have a chunk of money that has been obligated but not yet outlaid," said Merrigan. "Any time that situation occurs I get nervous [because] laws can be changed at any moment and we might have to pivot."
Time appears to be the essence here as the House of Representatives have passed a bill to return unclaimed stimulus funds to the treasury.
So what's been the holdup?
Winners have struggled to complete the necessary documents in the timeline originally set by the RUS. In response to that concern, Jonathan Adelstein, RUS administrator, said that the agency would extend the project completion deadline to late September 2015.
However, any organization that won a stimulus grant from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) won't get the same extension. RUS has been able to extend its deadline because it said it had "some flexibility in the appropriate Notice of Funds Availability."
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