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This could be big

The North Carolina House of Representatives last week unanimously approved a $750 million broadband expansion, just days after Gov. Roy Cooper announced that $1.2 billion in federal relief will go toward closing the state’s digital divide. The bill adds $350 million to the state's Growing Rural Economies with Access to Technology — or G.R.E.A.T. — program, which was established in 2018 to fund broadband infrastructure construction. It also commits $400 million in federal pandemic recovery funding for another broadband fund. Ryan Johnston reports.

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Maricopa "audit" could carry a steep IT cost

David Becker, a former Justice Department official who now heads the nonpartisan Center for Election Innovation & Research, said last week that Maricopa County, Arizona, taxpayers could be on the hook if an ongoing “audit” commissioned by Arizona Senate Republicans “contaminates” the county’s ballot-processing equipment, forcing it to be replaced at a cost that'll quickly run into the millions. “You can only imagine if some unexperienced third-party had access to voting hardware, how that could contaminate the equipment, create malfunctions,” he said. Benjamin Freed has details.

Biden's first IT budget

The Biden administration proposed the largest-ever increase in non-defense research and development spending with its first budget proposal last Friday. Officials likened the $171.3 billion proposed for R&D across more than 20 federal agencies —which represents a 9% increase from prior year proposals — to “space race”-era spending, FedScoop's Dave Nyczepir reports. The White House is also proposing $9.8 billion in cybersecurity spending. Read more on FedScoop.

Did you patch yet?

The FBI issued an alert last week that an advanced persistent threat group had breached the domain of a local government using previously disclosed vulnerabilities in Fortinet firewall technology. The vulnerabilities that the FBI believes allowed the APT entry to the local government in question had been disclosed by Fortinet in 2018, 2019 and 2020, with the company issuing patches at the time, but organizations can be slow to install those updates. Ben has more.

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