WASHINGTON, June 1, 2010 – The National Telecommunications and Information Administration has announced that state governments and other awardees in its State Broadband Data and Development Grant Program may seek funding for up to three additional years of broadband mapping work.
“Many communities are being left behind in the 21st Century economy and need improved broadband access and adoption to compete,” said NTIA Administrator Larry Strickling. “Given the growing economic importance of broadband services, better data and strategic planning are needed on the state level. This will help us increase broadband availability and use across the country, which is critical to our global competitiveness.”
The grant program was launched last year with a primary goal of assisting states in gathering data on the availability, speed and location of broadband services. The data they compile and display will be used to create an interactive national broadband map that NTIA is required by law to produce and make publicly available by Feb. 17, 2011.
The map, which NTIA plans to update every six months, will assist consumers with better information on the broadband services available to them and inform policymakers’ efforts to increase broadband availability nationwide.
NTIA originally funded state data collection efforts for a two-year period, allowing the agency to assess initial state activities before awarding funding for the remainder of this five-year initiative. With the program well underway, states (or their designees) can now apply for funding under the existing program rules for three additional years of mapping and data collection work.
The agency said that states also may seek funding for other initiatives, including state broadband task forces or advisory boards, technical assistance programs, local or regional technology planning efforts, and programs to promote increased computer ownership and internet usage.