GTA TeleGuam's protest against Philippines-based IT&E's $8 million broadband stimulus grant to build a competing network in Guam is yet another sign that the Obama administration's broadband stimulus program, while intending to close the so-called broadband gap, is far from perfect.
With the $8 million grant in hand, IT&E, which provides service on Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), plans to build a "next generation network" on Guam. GTA TeleGuam points out that IT&E will be overbuilding in an area that already has sizeable network infrastructure and a number of competitive wireline and wireless providers.
Since becoming privatized in 2005, GTA TeleGuam has invested about $75 million to upgrade and improve the network infrastructure on Guam--including a sizeable DWDM fiber network. In addition, GTA points out that residents and businesses can choose from four wireless operators, three CLECs and two cable TV operators for service.
Daniel J. Tydingco, executive vice president of external and legal affairs for GTA TeleGuam argues that "Claims that Guam is unserved or under-served are overblown and contrary to facts on the ground."
Although the National Telecommunications and Information Association (NTIA) and Rural Utilities Service (RUS) did modify the rules, which prompted both Qwest and Windstream to apply for second-round broadband stimulus funding, GTA's protest illustrates an ongoing lack of clarity on the definitions of what is an "unserved" and "underserved" broadband community.
- see the release here
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