People

People use computers to surf the internet in Seoul in this picture taken July 31, 2008. REUTERS/Jo Yong-Hak

U.S. government guidelines to spend $4 billion to expand broadband access to underserved areas across the United States may go beyond current laws, a broadband industry group, said on Thursday.

USTelecom, which represents the biggest U.S. telephone companies Verizon Communications Inc and AT&T Inc, said it was still analyzing requirements to provide loans and grants to applicants that can include state and local governments as well as non- and for-profit organizations.

We are concerned that some of the new mandates seem to go well beyond current laws and FCC rules, USTelecom President Walter McCormick said.

McCormick said the rules, which were released on Wednesday by the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Commerce, may lead to uncertainty and even delay President Barack Obama's plans to revive the U.S. economy with job creation, partly, through the telecommunications industry.

The funds are part of a $7.2 billion program to build an affordable high-speed Internet structure in rural areas. The broadband program was tucked into a $787 billion fiscal stimulus package Obama signed into law in February.

(Reporting by John Poirier, editing by Leslie Gevirtz)