Virginia Tech Foundation and Mid-Atlantic Broadband Cooperative Win Middle-Mile Grants

in Recovery Act by

WASHINGTON, February 8, 2010 - While the federal government is closed today due to inclement weather, Sen. Mark Warner and U.S. Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra announced the newest broadband stimulus grants.

The two Virginia projects will receive $21.5 million in funding to expand middle mile networks to rural and underserved areas of the state.

According to the application, Mid-Atlantic Broadband Cooperative “will extend our open access middle-mile fiber optic network to K-12 schools and vital community anchor institutions in unserved and underserved areas of Southern Virginia. Once completed, over 200 schools and 100,000 students will have access to an advanced network that will enrich K-12 education, trim costs and enhance economic growth.”

The Mid-Atlantic Broadband Cooperative was created under the stewardship of then-Gov. Warner, and brings together public and private interests to expand access in southern Virginia. Currently, the cooperative runs 800 miles of fiber and this project will allow them to greatly expand their reach.

The second project is being sponsored by the Virginia Tech Foundation with a goal of expanding access in the Allegheny valley and ridge. “Allegheny Fiber will extend Virginia's successful, open-access fiber network into unserved and underserved communities in the Appalachian region.

Virginia Tech and Mid-Atlantic Broadband Cooperative will construct a high count fiber system with access in remote communities providing non-profit, wholesale access for economic development, research, education, emergency response, and health care.”

Both projects seem to be similar to other projects which have been funded, in that they are middle-mile projects with direct links to anchor institutions or public computing centers, which are designed to impact education and job creation.

Rahul Gaitonde has been writing for since the fall of 2009, and in May of 2010 he became Deputy Editor. He was a fellow at George Mason University’s Long Term Governance Project, a researcher at the International Center for Applied Studies in Information Technology and worked at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. He holds a Masters of Public Policy from George Mason University, where his research focused on the economic and social benefits of broadband expansion. He has written extensively about Universal Service Fund reform, the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program and the Broadband Data Improvement Act

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