Snow Leads to Cancellation of Blacksburg, Va., Broadband Stimulus WorkshopBroadband Stimulus February 8th, 2010
Jeff Eden, Special Correspondent, BroadbandBreakfast.com
WASHINGTON, February 8, 2010 – The NTIA/RUS Round Two Public Workshop scheduled for Tuesday, February 9, 2010, in Blacksburg, Virginia has been cancelled due to inclement weather.
This leaves two remaining Round Two Workshops, out of the 10 originally scheduled: Thursday, February 11 in Fayetteville, N.C.; and Friday, February 12 in Atlanta, Ga.
Several of the prior workshops have been webcast live, but are not currently accessible online.
The Rural Utility Service said that the agency is working to post the webcasts on BroadbandUSA.gov within the next three to five business days. Thus, if east coast applicants cannot attend sessions in North Carolina or Georgia, they will have the opportunity to view one of the prior sessions.
There have been a number of changes to the Round Two NOFA, and Round One applicants have actually been encouraged to re-apply based upon these latest parameters.
NTIA has now stated that its “top priority is to fund Comprehensive Community Infrastructure projects, focusing on Middle Mile broadband projects and the connection of key community anchor institutions.”
The revised priority for RUS is “Last Mile Rural Infrastructure projects,” essentially rendering RUS the repository for Last Mile projects. Separate NOFAs have also now been issued for NTIA and RUS.
The Round Two process fortunately provides applicants with significantly clearer objectives than in Round One. The chances of success are maximized through sufficiently addressing these objectives, with consideration to the revised scoring system. The Public Workshops are informational and serve to further clarify these evolving criteria.
NTIA and RUS have indicated that Round Two Application packages will be available February 16. Applications due by March 15.