The US National Telecommunications and Information Administration, scheduled to distribute $4.7 billion in broadband deployment grants over the next 15 months, will count on volunteers to review grant applications. The NTIA is asking for people to apply to become volunteer reviewers of the broadband grants. The NTIA’s broadband grant program is part of $7.2 billion that the US Congress approved for broadband in a huge economic stimulus package approved earlier this year. It’s ‘a little scary’ that volunteers will have the power to accept and reject broadband applications, said Craig Settles, an analyst and president of consulting firm Volunteers may have limited expertise, or they may have biases that aren’t evident to the NTIA, he said. This may be just the ticket for someone with enough time to work on it.

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