Louisiana's pleas to reinstate $80M broadband grant fall on deaf ears

The U.S. Department of Commerce is sticking to its decision to revoke the $80 million broadband grant that Louisiana was going to use to expand broadband availability in the state.

In October, the Commerce Department decided to rescind the grant over concerns the state would not be able to build out the projects by the deadline it set.
"We have worked closely with the state throughout the last several months to rescue this project but have now concluded that we have to move on," said Lawrence Strickling, Commerce Dept. assistant secretary, in a statement.

U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu has, along with other state officials, been working to get the department to change its mind and believes the state should be given the opportunity to revise the plans. However, the Commerce Dept. has not responded to their requests.

Getting the money back won't be easy, since the grant process does not offer states the ability to appeal decisions the department makes about the money. With the grant, the state hoped to build a 900-mile middle mile network to bring broadband services to thousands of schools, libraries, health care centers and homes in 21 rural, lower income areas.

But as previously reported by FierceTelecom, Lousisiana has not been the only state that's had problems with their broadband stimulus funding as similar situations have occurred in both Florida and Wisconsin. Wisconsin returned its $22.978 million BTOP award earlier this year and in Florida, an investigation has been launched into the North Florida Broadband Authority's project over alleged mismanagement and improper vendor supervision.

For more:
- The Daily Advertiser has this article

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