[caption id="attachment_27945" align="alignleft" width="150" caption="Broadband access is essential for universities, advocates say."]Broadband access is essential for universities, advocates say.[/caption]

The economic stimulus package approved by Congress in February included $7.2 billion to help bring broadband internet access to more citizens. It also required the Federal Communications Commission to create a national broadband plan--an undertaking with important implications for colleges and universities.

The stimulus authorized the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to implement the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP), which is a $4.7 billion, one-time competitive matching grants program. The funds are intended to...

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