WASHINGTON, November 30, 2009 – The U.S. government announced Monday that it has awarded millions of dollars to five state entities and one nonprofit organization – Connected Nation – that proposed projects to help collect better data on broadband availability across the country.
The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration, the government agency responsible for taking the lead on broadband data as part of the $7.2 billion broadband stimulus program, announced funding for broadband mapping and planning activities in Alaska, Colorado, Delaware, Kansas, Louisiana, and Missouri.
The awardees must contribute at least 20 percent of non-federal funds toward project costs. Each state has designated one entity that it believes should receive funds under the program.
According to Monday’s announcement, five states will receive grants, plus Connected Nation – for its efforts in the state of Kansas. NTIA said the “state of Kansas will direct and implement all planning activities” for the organization. It has been awarded approximately $2 million from the government.
NTIA has also awarded Alaska’s Denali Commission, an independent federal agency, approximately $1.4 million for broadband data collection and mapping activities over a two-year period and nearly $500,000 for broadband planning activities over a five-year period in Alaska.
Other state entities to receive funds for broadband data collection, mapping and planning activities include: Colorado’s Governor’s Office of Information Technology, the Delaware Department of Technology and Information, the Missouri Office of Administration, and Louisiana’s Office of Information Technology.
The grants are made possible under NTIA’s State Broadband Data and Development Grant Program, which was created under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, passed by Congress and signed on February 17, 2009.
“The program will provide grants to assist states or their designees in gathering and verifying state-specific data on the availability, speed, location, and technology type of broadband services,” NTIA said in a statement.
“The data they collect and compile will also be used to develop publicly available state-wide broadband maps and to inform the comprehensive, interactive, and searchable national broadband map that NTIA is required by the Recovery Act to create and make publicly available by February 17, 2011.”
The data that comes out of the selected projects will also feed the agency’s national broadband map, a tool that is meant to inform policymakers and provide consumers with better information on the broadband Internet services available to them. The map will “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,” NTIA states. “The national map will also be searchable by address and show the broadband providers offering service in the corresponding census block or street segment,” according to the agency.
NTIA has already announced fifteen grant recipients under the mapping program.