jmcharry sends word that as the deadline looms for requesting broadband grants from the $4.7 billion available in stimulus funding, Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T are conspicuously absent from the list of applicants. Quoting the Washington Post: "Their reasons are varied. All three say they are flush with cash, enough to upgrade and expand their broadband networks on their own. Some say taking money could draw unwanted scrutiny of business practices and compensation, as seen with automakers and banks that have taken government bailouts. And privately, some companies are griping about conditions attached to the money, including a net-neutrality rule that they say would prevent them from managing traffic on their networks in the way they want. ... Yet those firms might be the best positioned to achieve the goal of spreading Internet access to underserved areas, some experts say." Reader Michael_Curator notes that while the major carriers may be holding back, there were still enough applications to slow government servers to a crawl, resulting in a deadline extension.