MARCH 28, 2010 – The U.S. Commerce Department has announced 10 more awards under the National Telecommunications Information Administration’s (NTIA’s) Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP). The funding will provide more than $63 million in grants to projects in more than a dozen states.
Of these grants, five were broadband infrastructure grants, four of which involve fiber:
- Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah -- The Navajo Tribal Utility Authority will receive $32.2 million broadband infrastructure grant with an additional $13.8 million applicant-provided match to bring high-speed affordable broadband services to the Navajo Nation by deploying 550 miles of new aerial fiber-optic cable and 59 new or modified microwave towers covering 15,000 square miles in three states. The project expects to directly connect 49 Chapter Houses, which serve as community centers for the Navajo population, at speeds from 10 Mbps to 10 Gbps. Last-mile wireless services will be offered at speeds between 1 and 3 Mbps through the project’s wireless partner, Commnet Wireless.
- Idaho -- First Step Internet was awarded a $2.4 million broadband infrastructure grant with an additional $600,000 applicant-provided match to build a regional network of 10 microwave towers to extend high-capacity Internet service in the rural counties of Latah, ID and Clearwater, Lewis, and Nez Perce in north-central Idaho.
- Ohio and Pennsylvania -- Zito Media Communications received a $6.1 million broadband infrastructure grant with an additional $1.5 million applicant-provided match to create a 382-mile fiber ring with 10 Gbps of capacity through the counties of Geauga, Ashtabula, and Trumbull in Northeastern Ohio, and the counties of Erie, Crawford, and Mercer in Northwestern Pennsylvania. The project plans to deploy 342 miles of new fiber and 40 miles of leased fiber to directly connect an estimated 60 community anchor institutions at speeds from 10 Mbps to 1 Gbps.
- Virginia -- Two projects were funded in Virginia. In the first, Nelson County of Virginia received a $1.8 million broadband infrastructure grant with an additional $457,000 applicant-provided match to enhance and expand broadband Internet services in areas of rural Nelson County by deploying 31 miles of new fiber and four new wireless tower sites, and directly connecting 13 community anchor institutions. Page County Broadband Authority also will receive a grant, worth $1.6 million with an additional $412,000 applicant-provided match, to deploy a 39-mile fiber network that will serve the four principal towns in Page County a rural and underserved area in the Shenandoah region of Western Virginia. The network expects to directly connect 29 anchor institutions.
NTIA said it received more than 1,800 applications proposing projects totaling nearly $19 billion during the first BTOP funding round and is currently awarding grants on a rolling basis. The deadline for the second round of BTOP Comprehensive Community Infrastructure awards was March 26.