As deadline looms, more BTOP, BIP awards released

Sept. 14, 2010
SEPTEMBER 14, 2010 – With a deadline of the end of September to finish awarding the money granted them via the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Commerce both announced new sets of broadband stimulus awards.

SEPTEMBER 14, 2010 By Stephen Hardy -- With a deadline of the end of September to finish awarding the money granted them via the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Commerce both announced new sets of broadband stimulus awards. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the funding of 43 new broadband infrastructure projects through the Broadband Initiatives Program (BIP), while Commerce Secretary Gary Locke today announced 35 awards from the NTIA’s Broadband Technologies Opportunities Program (BTOP).

The 43 BIP awards represent $518 million in stimulus funding; an additional $34.1 million in private investment will also be committed to the projects. By leveraging $2.5 billion in Recovery Act funding authorized by Congress, the USDA says it has been able to provide loans and grants of $3.6 billion to construct 307 broadband projects in 46 states and one territory.

At least 23 of the new projects will leverage FTTH, while others will combine fiber with DSL, wireless, or coax. A full list of the new BIP broadband grant awards today can be downloaded from the USDA website.

The 35 BTOP awards comprise $482.4 million in grants. The Department of Agriculture asserted that the NTIA would meet the September 30, 2010 deadline to award all the money it is charged to disperse. The BTOP has seen the announcement of 216 grants so far.

The new BTOP awards included 10 infrastructure projects, 11 Public Computer Center awards, and 14 Sustainable Broadband Adoption awards. The infrastructure awards, mainly for middle-mile projects, include:

  • GovNET LLC: This $39.3 million grant, with an additional $12.7 million in matching contributions, will allow GovNET to offer affordable middle-mile broadband service in Arizona.
  • Centennial Board of Cooperative Educational Services: This $100.6 million grant, with an additional $34.7 million in matching contributions, will allow Centennial Board of Cooperative Educational Services to offer affordable middle-mile broadband service in Colorado, with a particular focus on serving rural and underserved school districts.
  • Connecticut Department of Information Technology: This $93.9 million grant, with an additional $23.5 million in matching contributions, will allow the Connecticut Department of Information Technology to deploy over 5,500 miles of fiber network to upgrade and expand existing broadband infrastructure and improve the state’s public safety and educational services.
  • Northern Illinois University: This $46.1 million grant, with an additional $22.4 million in matching contributions, will allow Northern Illinois University to offer affordable middle-mile broadband service in areas of northwestern Illinois.
  • Sho-Me Technologies, LLC: This $26.6 million grant, with an additional $11.4 million in matching contributions, will allow Sho-Me Technologies to offer affordable middle-mile broadband service in Missouri. The project also plans to foster smart grid applications.
  • Ronan Telephone Co.: This $13.8 million grant, with an additional $5.9 million in matching contributions, will allow the Ronan Telephone Co. to offer affordable middle-mile broadband service across northwest Montana.
  • OSHEAN, Inc.: This $21.7 million grant, with an additional $10.7 million in matching contributions, will allow OSHEAN to offer affordable middle-mile broadband service in Rhode Island and Massachusetts.
  • Onwav, Inc.: This $5.2 million grant, with an additional $1.3 million in matching contributions, will allow Onwav to offer affordable middle-mile broadband service in north-central Tennessee.
  • Texas Region 18 Education Service Center: This $11.9 million grant, with an additional $5.3 million in matching contributions, will allow Region 18 Education Service Center to offer affordable middle-mile broadband service in Texas.
  • Ute Indian Tribe: This $1.4 million grant, with an additional $630,000 in matching contributions, will allow the Ute Indian Tribe to offer affordable middle-mile broadband service for the Uintah and Ouray Reservation in Utah as well as and nearby areas in the state.