FTTH Council lauds fiber’s share of initial broadband stimulus awards

DECEMBER 27, 2009 -- The first broadband stimulus grants and loans made under the Recovery Act indicate that the agencies responsible for those programs are looking to fiber-optic technology to meet the goals of job creation and economic development, according to the Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) Council.

DECEMBER 27, 2009 -- The first broadband stimulus grants and loans made under the Recovery Act indicate that the agencies responsible for those programs are looking to fiber-optic technology to meet the goals of job creation and economic development, according to the Fiber-to-the-Home (FTTH) Council.

"Given the large number of applications and the broad range of technologies proposed by applicants, it appears from this initial set of awards that the agencies are emphasizing fiber-driven networks as key to creating jobs and 'future-proofing' stimulus-funded projects," said Joe Savage, president of the FTTH Council.

The council is a non-profit organization of 200 companies and other organizations dedicated to expanding the deployment of all-fiber, next-generation networks.

Eighteen loan and grant awards totaling $183 million for local projects in 17 states were announced December 17 by Vice President Joe Biden.

Savage noted that five of the eight broadband projects to be supported through the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Utilities Service (RUS) will be built with fiber to the premises (FTTP) technology. These recipients are Big Island Broadband/Aloha Broadband, Inc. in Hawaii, Peetz Cooperative Telephone Co. in Colorado, The Bretton Woods Telephone Co. in New Hampshire, Slic Network Solutions (Nicholville Telephone) in New York, and North Central Ohio Rural Fiber Optic Network, Consolidated Electric Cooperative in Ohio.

Additionally, all four of the awards for middle-mile projects through the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) were to promote fiber-optic build outs in Georgia, Maine, New York, and South Dakota.

The remaining awards went to supporting public computer centers and broadband adoption programs.

"Given the ever-expanding bandwidth requirements of video, telecommuting, cloud computing, and telemedicine applications, it's difficult to see how we can support those mission-critical applications with anything other than all-fiber networks," said Savage. "While these initial awards amount to only a fraction of the more than $7 billion dollars available for broadband stimulus, they provide a clear sign that the federal agencies are aware of how important fiber is to building broadband networks that can meet America's needs for generations to come."

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