Except it's worse. It seems that Montana has 7 service providers. In the whole state, it appears that only seven households had no access to any of them. If you divide the Stimulus funding by those households, you could have bought each of those families a condo with a nice Central Park view. Maybe two.
Eisenach and Caves looked at three areas that received stimulus funds, in the form of loans and direct grants, to expand broadband access in Southwestern Montana, Northwestern Kansas, and Northeastern Minnesota. The median household income in these areas is between $40,100 and $50,900. The median home prices are between $94,400 and $189,000.
So how much did it cost per unserved household to get them broadband access? A whopping $349,234, or many multiples of household income, and significantly more than the cost of a home itself.
Admittedly, it wasn't just 7 families that benefited. There was a whole set of broadband providers that lobbied the government for free cash. Millions went to rolling out a service that may or may not be actually being used by formerly unserved households. But the investment in lobbyist budget clearly seems to have paid off handsomely.
Back at the startup companies I've worked at, a common theme was "spend money like it was your own". Prioritization counted, because otherwise the company might not make it. The Fed.Gov is completely incapable of this sort of prioritization, which is the best argument against the expansion of the Fed.Gov.