House: 2009 stimulus sent $1M to Britain, creating no U.S. jobs

Politics,Beltway Confidential,Joel Gehrke

House Energy and Commerce investigators are pressing federal broadband regulators about money from the 20098 stimulus that was sent overseas rather than used to create jobs in the United States.

The lawmakers wrote the Federal Communications Commission and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration to find out why a company in the United Kingdom called SamKnows received stimulus funding  intended to jump start the U.S. economy in 2009.

“The $1 million spent on speed tests is perhaps emblematic,” Committee chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., and subcommittee chairman Greg Walden, R-Ore., wrote yesterday. “That stimulus funding, meant to help here at home, was sent abroad to U.K. company SamKnows and – according to the Recovery.Gov website – created no jobs. What was the rationale for sending Americans’ hard earned money overseas for a project that didn’t put any Americans to work, especially in the current fiscal climate?”

The speed tests were designed to check the speed and availability of broadband service. “[They] merely affirmed what we already knew: the billions in private capital that broadband providers have invested to reach 95 percent of the country is delivering rapidly accelerating service,” the Upton and Walden wrote.

The lawmakers discouraged the FCC/NTIA from expanding the project.

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