Monday, November 21, 2011

Congressman Adam Smith's Technology Issues Update

News from Congressman Adam Smith
November 21, 2011
Technology Issues Update

USDA Announces Funding to Expand and Improve Broadband Services in Rural Areas of Washington State

Last week, the United State Department of Agriculture announced it will be providing funding for telephone utilities to build, expand and improve broadband service in rural areas. Much of these funds will be used for “last mile” Fiber to the Premises (FTTP) broadband systems. These projects are critical to connecting new subscribers to high speed broadband systems.

For example, the Toledo Telephone Co., Inc. will receive $18 million in load funds to install 292 miles of buried fiber optic cables for their FTTP system. This will enhance service for all Toledo, WA subscribers.

“Expanding broadband infrastructure is great news for Washington’s rural families. Enhanced services helps rural businesses and entrepreneurs create job opportunities for people who want to live, work and raise their families in rural communities,” Adam stated.
More information about USDA Rural Development can be found at

Technology Funding in FY 2012 Appropriations Agreement

Last Thursday, the House of Representatives passed the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2012, HR 2112. Even in the current economic climate, funding research and technology is important for growing the economy and creating jobs. Here are some of the highlights:

· National Science Foundation: Provides $7 billion for the National Science Foundation, an increase of $173 million above FY 2011. NSF’s core research program is increased by $155 million to enhance basic research critical to innovation and U.S. competitiveness.

· Patent and Trademark Office (PTO): Provides PTO with $2.7 billion – the requested level and 29% above last year. These funds assist in streamlining the patent review system and help inventors move from an idea to creating a product more quickly.

· National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST): NIST is funded at $751 million, including an increase of $33.5 million above last year to support core NIST scientific research programs that help advance U.S. competitiveness, innovation, and economic growth. The Manufacturing Extension Partnership to provide training and technical assistance to U.S. manufacturers is maintained at last year’s level of $128 million.

“Funding research and technology is crucial to our innovative and economic growth. Growth in the technology industry will increase our global competitiveness and foster a stable and growing economy,” Adam stated.

If you have questions or comments, please contact Linda Danforth, District Director, at: 253-593-6601 or via email at:

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