Geoff Daily recently took BTOP out to the woodshed over its glacial pace, poor oversight, and severe underfunding. Today, I got some personal confirmation that BTOP is likely entirely broken and won’t accomplish much, at least not on this first round.
Way back on September 17, I sent the following e-mail:
I’m curious to know what state entity will be responsible for reviewing BTOP
applicants and applications, specifically in the state of Utah. Please
Just today, I get the following response:
Thank you for your interest in Broadband Technology Opportunity Program (BTOP). The BTOP application process encourages collaboration with the states in order to identify and fund the best possible broadband projects in America. A representative from a state may contact an applicant to request additional information contained in the application because of the state’s interest in making a recommendation to NTIA. Promptly replying to a state’s request allows the representative to carefully consider applications before commenting to NTIA. As a reminder, all Round 1 grant awardees will be determined by the end of the year.
Again, we appreciate your interest in the BTOP program to help bridge the technological divide and create jobs by expanding access to broadband throughout the nation.
There’s a few very glaring problems with what just happened here.
- The response is a canned form letter with no relevance whatsoever to the question asked.
- The response came 5 weeks after the original e-mail was sent.
- There is no longer an opportunity to communicate with the relevant persons at the state level because the deadline for their review has now passed.
Is this really the best that the NTIA can do? If so, I doubt we’re going to see any kind of meaningful federal effort to improve telecommunications infrastructure in this country.