Originally published: July 29, 2009
Last updated: July 29, 2009 - 5:25pm
The National Cable and Telecommunications Association, the wireless association CTIA, USTelecom, the Independent Telephone and Telecommunications Alliance, and COMPTEL, a group of competitor phone companies, are protesting guidelines from the Commerce Department about the $7.2 billion broadband stimulus. In a draft letter addressed to Lawrence Strickling, the department's Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information the groups say the Commerce Department is seeking "granular data" that is "highly sensitive from competition, network security and public safety standpoints." The economic stimulus law funds an Internet mapping project to produce statewide maps about broadband availability in various areas. The problem with the mapping project, according to the draft letter, is that the Commerce Department wants the entities collecting the information to provide sensitive or hard-to-acquire company data that eventually could be obtained by competitors. Strickling met Wednesday morning with executives of the telecom associations crafting the letter to go over their concerns. Participants said it was a cordial discussion, where Strickling appeared willing to address their worries.