WASHINGTON, January 11, 2010 – The National Telecommunications and Information Administration and the Rural Utilities Service on Thursday launched a new web site designed to foster partnerships and collaborations among broadband stimulus applicants.
The launch of the web site – http://match.broadbandusa.gov – comes at a time when the broadband community is eagerly awaiting announcement of the winners of broadband stimulus funding, and the new Notice of Funds Availability regarding the second and final round.
According to the agencies, both plan to announce the rules for the final funding round of the BTOP and BIP programs in the coming weeks.
Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, passed in February 2009, all of the $7.2 billion in broadband stimulus funding must be awarded by September 2009. And NTIA Administrator Lawrence Strickling has on numerous occasions said that public-private partnerships are among one of the many solutions to filling broadband gaps.
According to the site,“the tool allows any company, nonprofit, state or local government or expert individual interested in applying for or assisting with a grant under NTIA’s Broadband Technology Opportunities Program or RUS’s Broadband Initiatives Program to create a profile, post contact information and data about the contributions they can make to a successful grant application, and search for other similar stakeholders whose skills and resources complement their needs.”
“In the first funding round, many applicants wanted to form partnerships but didn’t know how best to locate other organizations with similar aims and complementary resources,” said Strickling, who is Assistant Secretary of Commerce. “BroadbandMatch is a tool to help stakeholders collaborate, which can spur the highest caliber, most effective proposals for this crucial Recovery Act funding.”
“It’s like a matchmaking service where interested parties can discover each other to pursue their mutual interests,” said RUS Administrator Jonathan S. Adelstein, who heads a division of the Department of Agriculture. “It will help in locating community partners and establishing new relationships that will foster better broadband service in areas of the country that really need it.”
This new site proclaims that it is part of the Obama’s administrations Open Government Initiative that also includes the Wikified Army Field Guide, which allows soldiers to add new information to the Army Field Guide, and Data.gov, where citizens can access data gathers by federal agencies.
“BroadbandMatch is a component project in support of the Obama Administration’s Open Government Initiative, undertaking to bring an innovative, open approach to the way the government operates,” read the release. “In launching BroadbandMatch, NTIA and RUS are joining agencies across the government in retooling their approach to conducting business, to increase transparency, public participation, and collaboration.”
The new matching tool marks additional efforts apparently designed to help smaller applicants gain greater assistance by partnering with other organizations who seek the same goals.