Hundreds apply for U.S. broadband grants

Thu, 04/08/2010 - 8:20am
Brian Santo

The U.S. government received more than 800 applications for funding in the second round of the broadband stimulus program, with the requests for money totaling more than four times the amount available.

There were 867 applications requesting a total of about $11 billion in funding, according to the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration. The total amount of funding available in the second round of NTIA’s Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) is $2.6 billion.

When non-federal matching funds are included, the value of all of the proposed projects would total about $15.5 billion, the NTIA said.

“For the second round of BTOP funding, we sharpened our program focus and encouraged applicants to create comprehensive proposals to meet the needs of their communities. We are pleased that a high percentage of applicants appear to have met our priorities, and we look forward to reviewing this more targeted pool of applications,” said Lawrence Strickling, assistant secretary for communications and information and administrator of NTIA.

The NTIA said its goal is to make the first Round 2 grant awards this summer.

There were three categories of BTOP applications:

  • Comprehensive Community Infrastructure: 355 of the applications, requesting approximately $8.4 billion in grants, are for Comprehensive Community Infrastructure projects, which focus on deployment of middle-mile broadband infrastructure that connects community anchor institutions, such as schools, libraries, hospitals and public safety facilities. For the second funding round, NTIA has allocated approximately $2.35 billion for such infrastructure projects.
  • Sustainable Broadband Adoption: 251 of the applications, requesting approximately $1.7 billion in grants, are for projects that promote sustainable demand for broadband services, including projects to provide broadband education, training and equipment, particularly among vulnerable population groups where broadband technology has traditionally been underutilized. In the second funding round, NTIA has allocated at least $100 million for such projects.
  • Public Computer Centers: 261 of the applications, requesting more than $922 million in grants, are for public computer center projects, which will expand access to broadband service and enhance broadband capacity at public libraries, community colleges and other institutions that serve the public. In the second funding round, NTIA has allocated at least $150 million for such projects.
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