NTIA gets 867 applications requesting $11 billion in broadband grants

The Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced today that it received 867 applications requesting $11 billion in funding for proposed broadband projects in Round 2. Unfortunately, the agency has only $2.6 billion to allocate for the second round. Applications came in from a diverse range of parties including state, local, and tribal governments; nonprofits; industry; anchor institutions, such as libraries, universities, community colleges, and hospitals; public safety organizations; and other entities in rural, suburban, and urban areas.

“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 E. Strickling, Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information and Administrator of NTIA. “We will move quickly but carefully to fund the best projects to bring broadband and jobs to more Americans.”

A preliminary analysis of applicant-reported data shows that NTIA received requests for grants totaling more than $11 billion. When including about $4.5 billion in non-Federal matching funds committed by the applicants, there are over $15.5 billion in proposed broadband projects. NTIA will employ a thorough review process with the goal of making the first Round 2 grant awards this summer.

BTOP applications were received in three categories and break down as follows:

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.

NTIA has posted online a searchable database containing summaries of applications received.  The dollar figures cited today represent applicants’ self-reported totals, however these totals are preliminary estimates and may change as the applications are reviewed for errors, omissions, and duplications.

The Recovery Act provided a total of $7.2 billion to NTIA and the Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS) to expand access to and adoption of broadband services. Of that funding, NTIA will utilize $4.7 billion to deploy broadband infrastructure, expand public computer center capacity, and encourage sustainable adoption of broadband service. RUS will invest $2.5 billion to facilitate broadband deployment in rural communities.

For more information, go to http://www.ntia.doc.gov/broadbandgrants/

Comments

  1. Watch this act. As usual there will be millions spent using the wrong people. No significant systems reaching local homes will come out of it. But hey, more libraries and congressman’s fishing shacks will be high speed. When will they let private business get some of these monies. I’ve been at it since 1998 and filled a room of paper with grant proposals. Each time it went to pure BS builds.

  2. One other point to make. No jobs will be created by doing what is suggested in this article. This will not spur small business or even so much as a single saleman. Dead money give away to schools.

    Read >>>

    “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.”

    In other words we are going to still make you go to the library or college for access.

  3. Esme Vos says

    I was surprised to see very few private companies get grants. For example, my ISP here in San Francisco – Webpass – had applied for a grant to deploy high-speed wireless broadband somewhere in the US (not in SF) and I don’t think they got a grant. Webpass is a very good service provider and I feel that small firms like them should have gotten more money.

    As for the public computer centers, I think funding them is essentially an emergency act. The CIO of Riverside, California told me that there’s a long wait to use computers in public libraries because people applying for public assistance need to use computers. These are poor people who have no computers at home or no broadband service because both are too expensive for them.

    I am not convinced about the sustainable broadband adoption programs. They seem very patronizing, as if people are too stupid to figure out the Internet on their own. I think if you give someone a computer and a fast, reliable Internet connection, they’ll get to all the websites they find interesting.

  4. Since we are far far short of fully funding everything that needs to be done, I actually agree we should focus on the community’s centers first.

    Any cost analysis of network build outs will tell you that by far the most costly segment is that last piece to the home.

    Also, if you are trying to teach people about how best to use the web — and that are skills that can be taught — best if they are all congregated in these community centers rather than isolated in their homes.

    Now putting a robust infrastructure into a community’s center should not mean that service to the home can’t be offered off that. I’d just go Wi-Fi, with a hub and spoke architecture. Mount APs on the library roof. Sprinkle the neighborhood with repeaters. That’s the Phase Two here.

    For those who say that the private sector is being shut out, perhaps the strategy is for the private sector company to partner with local non-profits, and work closely with local government. There’s winning a grant, then there’s building the best solution afterward.

    I didn’t apply at all, since I figured I had no deep roots in any community.

  5. we find it interesting that google got more applicants over the ntia/rus process…and given that google is not dispensing any money should be a real eye opener to some…it says here that the standing on line to go on line funding policy mechanism eschewed by ntia/rus..is reminiscent of the usda program of the sixties and seventies (pre food stamps)where poor people stood on line for food..the invidious nature of a policy that protects the oligopoly providers while asking people to go stand on line if one can not afford to pay the TOLL is at best lugubrious..and at it’s worst a new age form of electronic segregation…the premise of BE IT NOT FOR..has been essentially thrown under the bus…until the govt offcials takes in consideration that they are representing “we the people” not the last mile cabal and all the it can’t be done economic speak (silly things crazy talk??) …then we all suffer fools gladly ???