First broadband stimulus awards announced

DECEMBER 17, 2009 -- A little more than a month later than originally anticipated, U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden announced the first $183 million in awards from the $7.2 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act broadband grant and loan programs.

DECEMBER 17, 2009 -- A little more than a month later than originally anticipated, U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden announced the first $183 million in awards from the $7.2 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act broadband grant and loan programs. A White House press release says $2 billion will be made available on a rolling basis over the next 75 days.

Many of the projects involve fiber optics.

The initial $183 million covers 18 broadband projects in 17 states. The funding has been matched by more than $46 million in public and private sector capital, according to the White House.

The awards included:

  • $51.4 million for last-mile projects
  • $121.6 million for “middle mile” projects
  • $7.3 million for public computing
  • $2.4 million for sustainable adoption of broadband services

The announcements included projects funded via the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) of the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) as well as the Broadband Initiatives Program (BIP) that the Department of Agriculture's Rural Utilities Service (RUS) will administer. For example, BIP awards announced today covered both last-mile and middle-mile projects in eight states:

  • In Alaska, Anchorage, Rivada Sea Lion, LLC will receive a $25.3 million grant with $6.4 million of leveraged funds. The money will go toward providing 4G high-speed broadband Internet service availability to more than 9,000 unserved locations in a 90,000 square mile area in the southwestern part of the state.
  • Big Island Broadband/Aloha Broadband, Inc. was awarded a $106,503 loan with matching funds of $87,405 to bring broadband services to an unserved area in the northern part of the Hawaiian Islands where there are nearly 600 residents and businesses.
  • Peetz Cooperative Telephone Co. of Colorado will get a $1.5 million grant for expansion of existing infrastructure using a combination of unspecified technologies. This project will make broadband service available to as many as 550 locations in the service area, which includes parts of Nebraska.
  • The Chatham Telephone Co. will get an $8.6 million grant to bring high-speed DSL broadband service to remote, unserved businesses and households within its rural Michigan territory.
  • The Bretton Woods Telephone Co. of Bretton Woods, NH, is in line for a $985,000 grant to offer FTTP-enabled 20-Mbps two-way broadband service to all potential customers and stimulate tourism in the area.
  • Potsdam, NY, Slic Network Solutions (Nicholville Telephone) will get a grant of $4.3 million and a loan of $1.1 million for a 136-mile fiber-optic network reaching into five towns in rural Franklin County. This all-fiber network will deliver broadband voice, and IPTV services to remote rural areas. The network will offer service to more than 6,500 locations.
  • North Central Ohio Rural Fiber Optic Network, planned by the Consolidated Electric Cooperative, will receive a $1,034,413 grant and $1,399,499 loan; and matching funds of $1,225,000. The funds will go toward a smart grid initiative and broadband service based on an open-connectivity fiber-optic backbone network.
  • Southeast Oklahoma’s Pine Telephone Co. will receive a $9.5 grant with an additional $4.6 million in private funds to provide services to what the White House described as “an entirely remote, rural, unserved and severely economically disadvantaged community.”


The remaining funding came from the BTOP program, including these middle-mile awards:

  • North Georgia Network Cooperative Inc. will get a $33.5 million grant with an additional $8.8 million in matching funds to deploy a 260-mile regional fiber-optic ring to deliver gigabit broadband speeds and other benefits to “abundant” interconnection points for last-mile service in the North Georgia foothills.
  • Biddeford Internet Corp. (d.b.a. GWI) will use a $25.4 million grant with an additional $6.4 million in matching funds to build a 1,100-mile open access fiber-optic network in Maine.
  • ION Hold Co., LLC, will receive a $39.7 million grant with an additional $9.9 million in matching funds to build 10 new segments of fiber-optic, middle-mile broadband infrastructure, serving more than 70 rural communities in upstate New York and parts of Pennsylvania and Vermont.
  • South Dakota Network, LLC, will use a $20.6 million grant with an additional $5.1 million in matching funds to add 140 miles of backbone network and 219 miles of middle mile spurs to an existing network.

BTOP public computer center awards included:

  • A $1.3 million grant with matching funds of $320,000 to the Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records, to enhance existing facilities in more than 80 public libraries throughout the state.
  • The City of Boston will use a $1.9 million grant with matching funds of $477,000 to expand computer and Internet capacity at the city’s main library and 25 branches, 16 community centers, and 11 public housing sites.
  • Regents of the University of Minnesota will get a $2.9 million grant with matching funds of $741,000 to enhance broadband awareness and use for residents in four federally designated poverty zones in Minneapolis and St. Paul.
  • Washington’s Inland Northwest Community Access Network (Tincan) will receive a $1.3 million grant with matching funds of $753,000 to establish three new public computer centers and expand 14 existing centers throughout Spokane’s poorest neighborhoods.

Sustainable broadband adoption awards from BTOP included:

  • The New Mexico State Library will use a $1.5 million grant with an additional $591,000 in matching funds to increase broadband adoption and promote computer literacy and Internet use statewide.
  • The Inland Northwest Community Access Network will use an additional $981,000 grant with $728,000 in matching funds to increase broadband adoption in Spokane.


The Recovery Act aims to expand broadband access and adoption across the country. The awards are designed to help promote broadband infrastructure development and use as well as create jobs.

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