WASHINGTON, August 27, 2009 – Nearly 2,200 applications were submitted for federal funding from the federal government’s broadband stimulus program, seeking $27.6 billion in funding, out of $4.3 billion that is available, said the National Telecommunications and Information Administration and Rural Utilities Service.
“Applicants requested nearly seven times the amount of funding available, which demonstrates the substantial interest in expanding broadband across the nation,” said Lawrence Strickling, Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information and Administrator of NTIA, which is part of the Commerce Department.
“We will move quickly but carefully to fund the best projects to bring broadband and jobs to more Americans,” he said.
“The overwhelming response we received underscores the extensive interest in expanding broadband across the country,” said Jonathan Adelstein, Administrator of RUS, which is part of the Agriculture Department.
“Rural communities clearly recognize that broadband can expand their economic opportunities and create jobs,” Adelstein said. “The Obama Administration’s goal is to target funds to serve areas of greatest need. The big demand for loans as well as grants demonstrates that we can leverage private investment with USDA’s $2.5 billion to deliver the greatest bang for the taxpayers’ buck.”
Of the $4.3 billion available in this round, RUS will make $2.3 billion available (in both grants and loans), and the NTIA will make $2 billion available.
Of the applications, more than 940 were filed with NTIA, more than 400 were filed with RUS, and more than 830 applications were filed with both NTIA and the RUS.
Of the NTIA applications, 260 were filed for infrastructure grants that are part of the NTIA’s Broadband Technology Opportunities Program. These grants sought $5.4 billion to provide broadband in unserved and underserved areas. A total of $1.6 billion is available from this pool.
The other NTIA-only applications were for sustainable broadband adoption, or for public computing centers. More than 320 applications requested nearly $2.5 billion for sustainable broadband projects; the amount allocated to this round is $150 million.
More than 360 applications were filed in the public computing center category. These applications requested more than $1.9 billion; the amount allocated to public computer centers in this round is $50 million.
Of the RUS infrastructure grants, more than 400 applications requested $5 billion in grants and loans for broadband infrastructure projects in rural areas. The total available in this round for RUS-funded projects is $2 billion, although the RUS has a $325 million “reserve” fund upon which it can draw.
Finally, of the more than 830 application filed jointly with NTIA and RUS, they requested nearly $12.8 billion in infrastructure funding. These applications would draw upon either the $2.3 billion from RUS, or the $1.6 billion in infrastructure funding available through the NTIA – or through the NTIA’s $200 million “reserve” fund.
The agencies said that, “In the coming weeks, NTIA and RUS will post online a searchable database containing summaries of all applications received. The dollar figures cited today represent applicants’ self-reported totals from proposals submitted before the August 20, 2009, deadline at 5 p.m. ET. These results are preliminary estimates, however, and may change as the applications are reviewed for errors, omissions, and duplications.”