WASHINGTON, September 11, 2009 – The National Telecommunications and Information Administration late Wednesday released the names of all 2,200 applicants for broadband stimulus grants through an interactive and searchable database at the broadbandusa.gov web portal during the first round of the broadband stimulus applications.
In testimony to Congress on Thursday, Lawrence Strickling, Assistant Secretary of NTIA, said that the agency was likely to seek to consolidate the planned rounds two and three of the broadband grant process into a single additional round. The broadband stimulus program is being run by the NTIA and the Rural Utilities Service of the the Agriculture Department.
Also, late Wednesday the NTIA released the names of the entities within all 50 states, five territories and the District of Columbia that had been awarded broadband data and mapping grants.
Previously, there had been some question about whether all states would indeed submit applications for broadband data.
“We are pleased with the unanimous response, which underscores the value of this program,” Strickling said in a statement, speaking about the broadband data grants.
The data grants totaled $100 million, or significantly less than the $240 million that had been designated for the program by the NTIA. The NTIA also announced that it decided to transform the five-year broadband data grants into two-year grants.
“In consideration of its charge to both create and maintain the national broadband map, and its responsibility to use funds in a fiscally prudent manner, NTIA has decided to initially fund state mapping and data collection efforts for a two-year period as opposed to a five-year period as originally contemplated,” read the press release.
These changes in the data and mapping program also came against the background of a significant course-reversal on August 7 by the NTIA: The agency changed the definition of “confidential” information in the broadband data and mapping Notice of Funds Availability to allow, and possibly require, the identification of carriers providing broadband service to individual Census blocks.
In a Federal Register notice issued August 7, and highlighted in the agency’s August 17 report to Congress, the agency said that “it intends to identify all broadband providers by name on the broadband map rather than leaving such identification to the discretion of the provider. These clarifications will help enable NTIA to build a robust, accurate broadband map for the benefit of consumers and policymakers.”
Previously, information about the carriers that serve a particular Census block has been considered proprietary and confidential.
The agency reiterated its position in favor of disclosing carrier identities in Wednesday’s press release: “The national broadband map will publicly display the geographic areas where broadband service is available; the technology used to provide the service; the speeds of the service; and broadband service availability at public schools, libraries, hospitals, colleges, universities, and public buildings. The national map will also be searchable by address and show the broadband providers offering service in the corresponding census block or street segment.”
Among the awardees for state broadband data and mapping grants, Connected Nation, Inc., won eight grants, the largest amount of awards: in Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, South Carolina, Texas.
The Connected Tennessee LLC, the Connected Nation affiliate in Tennessee, also won the award in that state. Somewhat surprisingly, Connected Nation did not win the grant in its home state of Kentucky. That award instead went to the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
Almost all of the designated entities selected for the broadband data and mapping grants were states, or divisions or agencies of states.
Further details about the broadband data and mapping selection process will be available in Monday’s BroadbandCensus.com Weekly Report.
Previously, the NTIA released the following information about the BTOP grants:
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.
BroadbandCensus.com was launched in January 2008, and uses “crowdsourcing” to collect the Broadband SPARC: Speeds, Prices, Availability, Reliability and Competition. The news on BroadbandCensus.com is produced by Broadband Census News LLC, a subsidiary of Broadband Census LLC that was created in July 2009.
A recent split of operations helps to clarify the mission of BroadbandCensus.com. Broadband Census Data LLC offers commercial broadband verification services to cities, states, carriers and broadband users. Created in July 2009, Broadband Census Data LLC produced a joint application in the NTIA’s Broadband Technology Opportunities Program with Virginia Tech’s eCorridors Program. In August 2009, BroadbandCensus.com released a beta map of Columbia, South Carolina, in partnership with Benedict-Allen Community Development Corporation.
Broadband Census News LLC offers daily and weekly reporting, as well as the Broadband Breakfast Club. The Broadband Breakfast Club has been inviting top experts and policy-makers to share breakfast and perspectives on broadband technology and internet policy since October 2008. Both Broadband Census News LLC and Broadband Census Data LLC are subsidiaries of Broadband Census LLC, and are organized in the Commonwealth of Virginia. About BroadbandCensus.com.