Broadband stimulus funds begin to flow
The U.S. government has allocated the first $182 million worth of broadband stimulus funds from the $7.2 billion program.
The initial disbursement broke down as $121.6 million in middle mile awards, to build and improve connections to communities lacking sufficient broadband access; $51.4 million in last mile awards, to connect end users like homes, hospitals and schools to their community's broadband infrastructure; $7.3 million for public computing, to expand computer center capacity for public use in libraries, community colleges and other public venues; and $2.4 million for sustainable adoption, funding projects that promote broadband demand with population groups where the technology has traditionally been underutilized.
The full list of recipients includes projects in 17 different states.
Funds were dedicated to building fiber backbones and fiber rings, to establishing connectivity for libraries and community centers in poverty zones, and for computer literacy programs.
Among the first companies to receive funds is American Cable Association member Pine Telephone Co., in Oklahoma, which got a grant for $9.5 million to bring broadband access to Choctaw tribal lands.
Access projects included programs to build 4G wireless networks, DSL, fiber-to-the-home and fiber networks capable of supporting IPTV.
ACA President Matthew Polka said: "The American Cable Association is very pleased that the Rural Utilities Service is providing ACA member Pine Telephone Co. with a $9.5 million grant to deploy broadband infrastructure in remote areas of southeast Oklahoma. We are not surprised to learn of Pine's selection because all ACA members that applied for assistance under the $7.2 billion broadband stimulus program are ideal candidates to receive federal support for the purpose of deploying broadband in unserved and underserved areas.”