WASHINGTON, December 22, 2009 – Connected Nation, which bills itself as a national non-profit organization that seeks to expand access to broadband internet, hit the jackpot Tuesday when the government announced it will be receiving more than nine million in funding for broadband mapping work.
“Congress rightly recognized that increasing broadband access and adoption in communities being left behind in the 21st Century economy depends on better data collection and broadband planning,” said Lawrence Strickling, Assistant Secretary of Commerce, and head of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, in a statement.
“Our goal is to carry out this initiative on schedule and at the lowest cost necessary to do the job right,” he said. “We’ve now awarded more than half the grants and will continue to work with remaining applicants so they can bring the benefits of broadband to more of their citizens,” he said.
At least five of the 15 grants NTIA announced Tuesday will be going to Connected Nation.
The rest of the awards have been given to state entities. “The states of Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, South Carolina and Tennessee are providing direction and supervision to the planning activities that will be undertaken by their designated entity, which is a non-state government entity, to ensure that planning funds are used to address the specific needs of the state,” NTIA explained in a release.
Connected Nation is receiving approximately $1.8 million for work in Michigan, $1.7 million in Minnesota, $1.4 million in Nevada, $1.7 million in South Carolina, and $1.8 million in Tennessee.
On its Web site Connected Nation’s board of directors list includes USTelecom, CTIA -The Wireless Association, Comcast, Verizon, Telecommunications Industry Association, and Intel. The group’s national advisory council includes Microsoft, AT&T, Cisco, National Cable Telecommunications Association, The Information Technology & Innovation Foundation, and Internet Innovation Alliance.
Connected Nation states it is “committed to meeting our mission through working with any and all providers of broadband service. We have an open door as to how to develop that relationship – with the extent and depth of that relationship often being defined by the provider themselves. Broadband providers actively contribute to the Connected Nation Board of Directors state-level steering committee, and local community leadership team providing representation from cable and DSL providers.”
The funding to Connected Nation were made possible from monies Congress allocated in February to increase broadband access and adoption.
NTIA said it received applications representing all 50 states, 5 territories, and the District of Columbia to participate in the program. “Twenty-one grants have previously been announced under this program and the agency expects to continue announcing awards over the coming weeks,” according to the NTIA release. Broadband data, which will be gathered from between 2009 and 2011, will be displayed as part of a government national broadband map.
In addition to Connected Nation, the following grant recipients were announced Tuesday: Arizona Government Information Technology Agency, Florida Department of Management Services, Georgia Technology Authority, North Dakota Information Technology Department, Ohio Office of Information Technology, Oregon Public Utilities Commission, Puerto Rico Office of the Chief Information Officer, Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation, and South Dakota Bureau of Information and Telecommunications.
NTIA said it “carefully evaluates each application to determine whether the applicant directly represents the interests of the state.” Awardees are required to contribute at least 20 percent in non-federal matching funds toward project costs.