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Congress Investigating Lake County Broadband Project

Posted at: 03/21/2013 9:54 AM
Updated at: 03/21/2013 10:29 AM

A Congressional committee is investigating whether a broadband project in Lake County should have received over $66 million in federal money.

In 2010, the USDA's Rural Utilities Service awarded Lake County the stimulus money for the Lake Connections Broadband Project. It's meant to increase internet access for people in Lake County and parts of St. Louis County.  The project is currently under construction.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee, headed by Rep. Fred Upton (R-Michigan), is questioning if the project actually meets financial requirements, and is truly expanding access instead of overbuilding in areas that already have it.  The committee sent a letter to the RUS asking seven questions about the criteria used to consider Lake County's application.

The letter was signed by six Republican members of the committee but no Democrats.

In an email to watchdog.org, Lake County Administrator Matt Huddleston said Lake County is fully cooperating with the RUS in the House committee requests.

In February 2012, Mediacom filed a complaint also suggesting the loan was improperly obtained. At that time, Lake County responded that Mediacom filed the complaint because it did not want to compete for user services.