Watchdog challenges $535,500 award for broadband development as ‘overlapping’ local effort

Nebraska Examiner exposes state agency’s duplicative grant

  • A state agency in Nebraska is being asked to reconsider its granting of $535,500 to provide high-speed internet service as a duplication of a broadband project already underway in that area.
  • The Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) awarded the grant to Lincoln Electric Cooperative (LEC) in 2023, without consulting or coordinating with LEC or other local stakeholders.
  • The Nebraska Watchdog, a nonprofit news outlet that exposes public corruption and waste, filed a formal request for reconsideration with the NDA, citing the potential conflict of interest and violation of the state’s broadband policy.

Watchdog challenges $535,500 award for broadband development as ‘overlapping’ local effort

Broadband development faces challenges and opportunities in rural areas

  • Broadband access is a critical issue for rural communities, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
  • The Biden administration has announced plans to distribute $42.5 billion nationwide to provide reliable and affordable internet service for every home and business in the U.S. by 2030.
  • The Department of Economic Development’s (DED) Office of Broadband Development (OBD) has launched an interactive map to help invest $1.7 billion in BEAD funding, which stands for Broadband Expansion Assistance Demonstration.


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