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Swamped agencies delay broadband application deadline

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Got to give it to my colleague Alex Goldman on this one -- he called it. Earlier this week, Alex mentioned to me a rumor that the servers handling the online applications for broadband stimulus funds were overloaded. He was right!

The two agencies overseeing the grant and loan process have pushed the deadline back by almost a week because the servers couldn't keep up with the volume of applications.

So the deadline, originally set for today at 5 pm, has been rolled back to 5 pm next Thursday, Aug. 20, though the agencies said that applicants must have set up a pending application by this afternoon to be eligible for the extension.

The National Telecommunications Information Administration (NTIA) and Rural Utilities Service said they have added more servers to power the Easygrants System.

In order to secure "pending" status, the applicant must register and log into the Easygrants System at BroadbandUSA.gov and click through to create an application.

The broadband stimulus program is doling out $7.2 billion in three phases over the next year. The first tranche makes $4 billion of that money available, including almost all of the funding allocated to RUS for deployments in rural areas.

Apace with the application-review process, the Federal Communications Commission is holding a series of staff workshops as it sets about developing a national broadband strategy to be presented to Congress in February. The FCC, which is also serving as a technical advisor to NTIA and RUS, was directed by the stimulus bill to compile a suite of recommendations for how policymakers should proceed toward the goal of delivering affordable, universal high-speed Internet access.

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