On the Hill

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Cable’s often unhappy about the RUS broadband program, but on Wed it had something to smile about. The Senate approved an amendment to the Farm Bill that is aimed at better targeting funding to broadband projects in unserved areas. The amendment from Sen Mark Warner (D-VA) requires that at least 25% of HHs in a proposed project areas qualify as unserved or underserved. The Sec of Agriculture will have discretion to reduce the percentage to not less than 18% for project areas covering 7500 or fewer people, and 15% for areas covering 5000 or fewer. The amendment also requires all funding recipients and RUS to report specific metrics about the number of residences and businesses receiving new service and calls for enhanced broadband mapping. Final passage of the Farm Bill was expected Wed. — Over in the House, the Commerce cmte unanimously approved a resolution urging the administration to fight any efforts by the UN’s Intl Telecom Union to exert more control over the Internet. NCTA, the US Chamber of Commerce, ITI and many other industry groups have praised the move ahead of fears that some countries may try to use an upcoming Dec meeting to increase the UN’s role in Internet governance.

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