Wednesday, March 25, 2009

What’s Online for Broadband Stimulus

The feds recently posted on the Federal Register information about the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service plans for their allocation from the Stimulus Bill.

The NTIA was allocated $4.7 billion and the USDA $2.5 billion. The funds were expressly approved for “unserved” and “underserved” locations, but those terms remain undefined. Both agencies are looking for input to these definitions and other aspects NLT April 13.

Six public meetings were held, the last yesterday in D.C. Public comments still accepted.

A recent meeting of these agencies and the Federal Communications Commission produced these five goals:

1. Close the broadband gap in unserved and underserved areas
2. Leverage private investment
3. Create jobs
4. Upgrade connectivity to schools, libraries and other community anchor institutions
5. Stimulate broadband demand

The NTIA is instructed to allocate $250 million towards the Broadband Data Improvement Act for mapping and community initiatives, at least $200 million to expand public computer center capacity in libraries and community colleges and at least $250 million for programs encouraging broadband adoption.

An unusual feature of the allocation is $10 million for audits and oversight of all programs.

There will be at least one grant per state, made in three rounds. All allocations must be made by September 30, 2010.

No comments:

Post a Comment