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Washington Telecom Insiders Focusing on New ‘Broadband Moment’ Through Significant Policy Tweaks

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June 8, 2015 – Some are calling it a second “broadband moment.”

More than six years after  the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was responsible for more than $7 billion in federal funds being spent on broadband infrastructure, internet adoption and telecommunications mapping, there’s a new level of interest in re-vising the National Broadband Plan, as laid out by the Federal Communications Commission in 2010.

Among the indicators:

  • There is widespread interest in municipalities and region tackling less-than-adequate broadband infrastructure, either through municipal construction, or through public-private partnerships.
  • The FCC’s recent changes to eRate eligibility rules open the door for “community anchor institutions” to build their own fiber connections, and to tap into newly-replenished FCC funds when they do so.
  • The FCC has also just launched an effort to revamp its Lifeline fund, which is the fourth major Universal Service Fund category to receive an overhaul in the past decade.
  • While lacking in substantial funds, the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration continues to stake out a role in federal broadband policy. Jointly with the Agriculture Department’s Rural Utilities Service, NTIA has issues a “Request for Comment” for a wide-ranging public inquiry about expanding broadband deployment and adoption through the recently-established Broadband Advisory Council.

Each of these issues – municipal broadband, eRate changes, Lifeline reform, and the Broadband Advisory Council – will be covered this month in greater detail here in BroadbandBreakfast.com.

Last week, the Government Accountability Office released a report on “Intended Outcomes and Effectiveness of Efforts to Address Adoption Barriers are Unclear.” In it, the agency highlighted strong progress in bringing broadband to U.S. households, to 83 percent in 2013 from 72 percent in 2011.

At the same time, the agency noted that “adoption has increased, but a significant percentage of the population has still not adopted broadband, and non-adoption rates remain higher among populations such as low-income households and older Americans.”

GAO recommended that NTIA include an outcome-based goal and measure for its broadband adoption work in its performance plan and yet NTIA stated that such metrics are not appropriate for its efforts because these efforts are advisory.

This coming week, many broadband advocacy groups are focused on the Wednesday deadline for comments to Broadband Advisory Council through the NTIA-RUS request. The agency is seeking replies to more than 30 questions, which are grouped around the themes of:

  1. Overaching Questions
  2. Addressing Regulatory Barriers to Broadband Deployment, Competition and Adoption
  3. Promoting Public and Private Investment in Broadband
  4. Promoting Broadband Adoption
  5. Issues Related to State, Local and Tribal Governments
  6. Issues Related to Vulnerable Communities and Communities With Limited or No Broadband
  7. Issues Specific to Rural Areas
  8. Measuring Broadband Availability, Adoption, and Speeds

Comments are due by Wednesday, June 10. The NTIA conducted a webinar on May 20, and posted the presentation and transcript from the event.

D.C. Offers Free Wi-Fi Along National Mall

in Broadband's Impact/Wireless by

WASHINGTON, September 10, 2010 – The District of Columbia has launched Wi-Fi along the National Mall, announced Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty and District Chief Technology Officer Bryan Sivak this week.

The new free, wireless hotspots from the project DC Wifi cover the mall from 3rd Street on the east to 14th Street on the west.

The D.C. government installed the new hotspots in collaboration with federal and private-sector partners. Federal partners include the U.S. Agriculture and Commerce departments, General Services Administration, National Gallery of Art and the Smithsonian Institution. Private-sector partners include Cisco, which donated network hardware, and Level 3, which donated internet services.

Commerce, Agriculture Departments Announce $1.8 Billion in New Broadband Grants

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WASHINGTON, August 18, 2010 – The departments of Agriculture and Commerce announced a new set of broadband grants totaling $1.8 billion across 37 states.

The 94 projects announced include the first satellite projects under this grant system.

• Spacenet will receive $7 million to provide rural access subcribers in Alaska and Hawaii;

• Echostar’s project, $14 million, will span much of the eastern and midwestern parts of the nation. It is expected to benefit 42,478 people stand and roughly 1,888 businesses;

• Wild Blue received $20 million to cover the western part of the nation along with the Midwest; and

• The Hughes Net project received the most funds at $59 million. It will help support a nationwide network;

“The broadband projects announced today will give rural Americans access to the tools they need to attract new businesses, jobs, health care and educational opportunities,” Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said. “The Obama Administration understands that bringing broadband to rural America provides a gateway for businesses and key anchor institutions – such as libraries, schools, public safety and community centers – to provide services to thousands of Americans. These projects will create jobs building these networks, and the completed systems will provide a platform for rural economic growth for years to come.”

The Commerce Department grants focused on wireless public safety networks. The five projects will receive $220 million. The largest of which, $70 million, was given to the state of Mississippi to create a new statewide network for first responders.

“Today’s investment in broadband technology will create jobs across the country and expand opportunities for millions of Americans and American companies. In addition to bringing 21st century infrastructure to underserved communities and rural areas, these investments will begin to harness the power of broadband to improve education, health care, and public safety,” said Vice President Joe Biden.

A full list of the grant winners can be found here.

GAO: Broadband Oversight Agencies Face Risks Due to Lack of Resources

in Broadband Mapping/Broadband Stimulus/NTIA/Rural Utilities Service/States by

WASHINGTON, August 9, 2010 – The National Telecommunications and Information Administration and the Rural Utilities Service are doing a pretty good job awarding broadband stimulus funding, although both agencies face risks as the Sept. 30 deadline nears for doling out the money.

The Government Accountability Office says in a new report (pdf) that even though the NTIA and RUS lack detailed data on broadband availability throughout the country and must award twice the amount of money in a second round of funding in a shorter amount of time, the agencies are working hard to meet their obligations.

To meet the Recovery Act’s Sept. 30 deadline, NTIA and RUS must award about $4.8 billion, and as the deadline looms, “the agencies may face increased pressure to approve awards,” according to the GAO. Additionally, it is difficult for the agencies “to determine whether a proposed service area is unserved or underserved” because of the lack of granular data.

To address the challenges, the GAO says the agencies have streamlined their application review processes by eliminating joint reviews and reducing the number of steps in the due diligence process. Additionally, NTIA began using U.S. Census tract data to verify the presence of service.

It’s also no small chore for the agencies to ensure that the grant recipients construct the infrastructure projects in the entire project area, “not simply the area where it may be the most profitable for the company to provide service,” says the GAO in “Recovery Act: Further Opportunities Exist to Strengthen Oversight of Broadband Stimulus Programs.”

The agencies also face the risk of having insufficient resources to actively monitor Recovery Act funded broadband projects.

The GAO suggests that the agencies should plan for a lack of resources for program oversight after Sept. 30 and recommends that the secretaries of the Agriculture and Commerce departments address these issues.

Broadband Issues Echo Electrification Debate of Decades Ago

in Broadband Updates/Broadband's Impact/FCC/Fiber/National Broadband Plan/Rural Utilities Service/States/Wireless by

WASHINGTON, June 15, 2010 – Today’s broadband expansion throughout the United States faces similar challenges to wiring the nation with electricity decades ago, and the nation’s businesses, consumers and government must work together to tap into the resources that high-speed internet access offers.

In the keynote address prior to BroadbandBreakfast.com’s panel on challenges to adoption and availability of rural broadband, Rural Utilities Service Administrator Jonathan Adelstein stressed a number of areas where his agency could improve its broadband outreach, while offering a vision for the future and a historical context for the present debate.

According to Adelstein, the debate over high-speed internet access has echoes of the original debate over the provision of electricity, especially at the RUS, which was originally known as the Rural Electrification Service.

“Rural broadband is really the most critical technology facing rural America since electrification,” Adelstein said, adding that the current debate was especially like the New Deal in that the “big utility companies” have little interest in providing their services to rural areas. This was in contrast with the government, which, Adelstein said, viewed electrification as a priority like today’s government sees rural broadband as key to the nation’s economic growth.

Agriculture Secretary “Tom Vilsack has put broadband near the very top of his agenda,” Adelstein said. “It’s one of his five pillars for rural America. It’s become a critical, indispensible building block in rural America.”

Adelstein expressed optimism surrounding current FCC plans for broadband expansion under the National Broadband Plan, but suggested that further work was necessary: “[The plan’s] just not enough to connect 100 percent of American households to the internet.”

Adelstein’s speech centered around the statistics showing fivve key disparities between rural and urban areas. The first was the issue of infrastructure. “One in 10 rural broadband adopters say they can’t get broadband where they live – twice the national average,” Adelstein said.

The second issue was the problem of access. “Sixty-eight percent of households in non-rural America choose to get broadband, while only 50 percent of households in rural America subscribe,” Adelstein said, citing availability and cost as potential reasons for this disparity.

“Cost is a bigger variable in rural areas because of income,” Adelstein noted, adding that costs for broadband service in rural areas might actually be higher due to the lack of demand and the special infrastructure needed. “We don’t have all the data on that, but I strongly suspect it,” he said.

The fourth issue with broadband access, according to Adelstein, was the problem of digital literacy. “Digital literacy is lower in rural areas,” he said. “A smaller percentage of people are familiar with computers. They don’t see the relevance of the internet in their daily lives.”

Adelstein pointed out that this problem frequently goes away once access enters the area, at which point the population tends to use broadband to take distance education courses, improve medicine and upgrade infrastructure, a trend he suggested would persist if access were expanded. Finally, Adelstein mentioned the issue of age, noting that the average age of a rural resident is 50 years versus the 46 years in urban areas.

During a question and answer session, Adelstein was pressed on how much equality there should be between rural and urban broadband service aid, and suggested that rural areas should receive increased help. “I don’t think there should be a differential. Rural areas need every bit as much broadband as urban areas,” Adelstein said, adding that this might require more help, given that rural areas often lack the requisite speeds to carry off high-bandwidth professional actions such as telemedicine.

Following Adelstein’s speech, the panel took up the issue of rural availability by laying out some potential organizational and institutional obstacles that might exist for the provision of universal broadband. Jeffrey Arnold, the deputy legislative director of the National Association of Counties, said: In order for a community to effectively pursue broadband, it has to have a vision. You can have all the federal money in the world, and companies willing to partner with local officials, but if there isn’t vision and leadership, it’ll fail.”

Meanwhile, Steven Berry, president and CEO of the Rural Cellular Association, suggested that the situation might not be bleak for local governments. “Whether you know it or not, you have enormous power in terms of your ability to anchor clients,” he said.

Claiborne Crain, a senior staff member at the House Agriculture Committee, gave an agnostic answer as to whether more funding for broadband initiatives would be forthcoming from the legislature, but suggested that areas of deployment for that funding might be easier to find than originally expected.

“I think it’s going to depend on what the members are hearing in their districts,” Crain said, adding that some lawmakers are waiting for better mapping of broadband availability and adoption before committing to funding.

Curtis Anderson, vice president and general counsel for MELE Associates, took a more pessimistic approach on the subject, saying “the federal government has a habit of making things complicated,” and worrying about the lack of centralization in broadband policy. “It would be easier if there was a one-stop shop.”

Jennie Chandra, regulatory counsel and director of federal government affairs for Windstream, suggested that rural access providers such as Windstream may be beginning to see the ability to supply more widely. “We now have deployed broadband to approximately 90 percent of our access lines,” Chandra said. “Windstream was very encouraged by components of the [National Broadband Plan], especially cost reform.”

State Telecom Regulators Score NTIA and RUS for Unclear Tax Situation; Seek IRS Ruling

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WASHINGTON, March 8, 2010 – The National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners on Monday urged the Treasury Department to clarify the tax implications for the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act.

NARUC criticized the Commerce Department and the Agriculture Department for failing to clarify whether Broadband Technologies Opportunity Program grants, Broadband Infrastructure Program grants, and broadband mapping grants are taxable.

“Indeed, the most recent FAQ on point provided by NTIA/RUS appears to raise more issues and resolve none,” said NARUC.

The FAQ [frequently asked questions] from NTIA and RUS reads:

“Q: Are BIP grants taxable? If so, can the grantee use grant funds to pay the taxes?

A: Applicants who are not exempt from taxation should consult with their tax advisors on the potential tax consequences of BIP grants. Federal taxes are not an eligible cost under Federal grant programs such as BIP. For an example of the analysis that the IRS may apply to BIP grants see: http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-drop/n-03-18.pdf. BIP staff cannot provide guidance on tax implications to applicants.”

NARUC called on the Treasury Department and its Internal Revenue Service to rule on whether the grants are taxable. Taxing grant money given to awardees could undercut the projects’ budgets by 35 percent to 40 percent, NARUC said, and would add an extra level of undue hardship.

Biden’s Broadband Stimulus Announcement Mobilizes Lawmakers

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WASHINGTON, December 17, 2009 – A number of Democratic lawmakers jumped on the broadband bandwagon Thursday to support the use of federal money to encourage adoption of the technology, while one Republican was quick to criticize the Obama Administration for excessive government spending.

“Today, the promise of the [Broadband Technology Opportunities Program] begins to be realized,” said Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation Chairman John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV in a statement. “These first grants represent an important, initial step towards stimulating job creation as well as expanding consumers’ access to and adoption of broadband. For those in rural areas and low-income households, broadband provides educational, healthcare, and employment opportunities that may not otherwise be available.”

Rockefeller, whose committee held a hearing in October to examine oversight of the broadband stimulus programs, was responding to an announcement by Vice President Joe Biden naming the first grant recipients of the $7.2 billion Congress allocated in January for national broadband investments. The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration and Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service were charged with distributing the funds but faced delays due to the magnitude of the task and the number of applications they received.

Senators John Kerry, D-Mass., and Paul Kirk, D-Mass., and Congressmen Edward Markey, D-Mass., Michael Capuano, D-Mass., and Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., gathered with Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino gathered Thursday to discuss the importance of the broadband grant their state is getting. “In Boston, 80 percent of public school kids have no broadband service at home in large part because their parents cannot afford it, and that’s why we pushed like hell to invest in broadband deployment through the stimulus bill,” said Kerry in a statement. “While we will continue to push for the agencies to move the money quickly and give all Massachusetts applicants a fair hearing, I am extremely pleased to see that stimulus funds are now flowing.”

“This is one way of reducing the much higher unemployment rate among minority and underserved communities,” added Lynch.

Members of the New Mexico Congressional Delegation were also encouraged to see their state on the list to receive grant money.

“Internet access is no longer a luxury, it’s an important part of our everyday lives. We must work to ensure that all parts of our state have Internet access so that students and businesses alike have the tools they need to succeed,” said Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., in a statement. “By making Internet access available to the public, our state’s libraries are providing an extremely important service. This grant will help them reach out to even more New Mexicans.”

Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., a member of the Senate Commerce Committee, said “Bridging the digital divide for rural residents and diverse communities is key to spurring small business growth and expanding educational opportunities in our state.” Rep. Harry Teague, D-N.M., added that “Rural and tribal communities are often left behind in the technology innovation race. By introducing these communities to broadband technology, not only can we increase educational opportunities, but we can also boost our small businesses and local economies.”

Reps. Ben Ray Luján, D-N.M., and Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., also spoke to the importance of public access to broadband.

Meanwhile, Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., was not thrilled with Biden’s broadband stimulus announcement in his home state. “Mr. Biden is quick to publicize the buckets of borrowed cash he’s handing out today … But will he look Georgians in the eye on Tax Day when they are forced to pick up the tab? If expansion of broadband is a priority of the federal government, then it should be reflected that way in our budget rather than tossed on the growing pile of national debt,” said Price.

“This administration is on an epic spending binge that is going to result in one serious fiscal hangover. Joe Biden would have us believe he is Santa Claus today, but he’ll look like the Grinch who stole Christmas when the stimulus bill comes due,” Price continued.

Biden Makes Official Broadband Stimulus Announcement

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WASHINGTON, December 17, 2009 – Vice President Joe Biden said Thursday that $2 billion will be made available on a rolling basis over the next 75 days to increase broadband penetration across the country. The money is part of the $7.2 billion Congress allocated in January for national broadband investments.

“New broadband access means more capacity and better reliability in rural areas and underserved urban communities around the country. Businesses will be able to improve their customer service and better compete around the world,” said Vice President Biden during an event at Impulse Manufacturing in Dawsonville, Georgia, with Governor Sonny Perdue, R-Ga.

“This is what the Recovery Act is all about – sparking new growth, tapping into the ingenuity of the American people and giving folks the tools they need to help build a new economy in the 21st-century,” he said. 

The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration has been charged with distributing $4.7 billion and the Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service with $2.5 to encourage broadband adoption. “The awards are designed to help underserved – and often hard-hit – communities overcome the distance and technology barrier by expanding connectivity between educational institutions, enabling remote medical consultations and attracting new businesses – as well as the jobs that come with them,” said the NTIA.

While Biden spoke in Georgia, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke traveled to Bangor, Maine, to announce $25.4 million in grants to build broadband infrastructure in rural and disadvantaged parts of the state. On Tuesday Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack plans to travel to Ohio to discuss a $2.4 million broadband award and the role it could play in connecting the community to the smart energy grid.

The federal government Thursday announced it was allocating the following funding amounts: $121.6 million to improve connections to communities lacking sufficient broadband access; $51.4 million to connect end users like homes, hospitals and schools to their community’s broadband infrastructure; $7.3 million to expand computer center capacity for public use such as in libraries; and $2.4 million to fund innovative projects that promote broadband demand in population groups where the technology has traditionally been underutilized. 

Grants awards are being given to the following entities: North Georgia Network Cooperative, Inc., Biddeford Internet Corp. ION Hold Co., South Dakota Network, LLC, Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records, City of Boston, Regents of the University of Minnesota, The Inland Northwest Community Access Network, New Mexico State Library, Rivada Sea Lion, Big Island Broadband/Aloha Broadband, Peetz Cooperative Telephone Co., The Chatham Telephone Company, The Bretton Woods Telephone Company, Slic Network Solutions, North Central Ohio Rural Fiber Optic Network, and The Pine Telephone Company.

Senators John Kerry and Paul Kirk, and Congressmen Edward Markey, Michael Capuano and Stephen Lynch, gathered with Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino Thursday to discuss the $1,906,439 broadband grant being awarded to the City of Boston. “This new investment will fund a coordinated project among three community anchors to provide upgraded and expanded hardware, software, and public computing training in 26 public libraries, 11 public housing developments, and 16 Centers for Youth and Families in Boston,” according to a statement from Kerry’s office.

 “In Boston, 80 percent of public school kids have no broadband service at home in large part because their parents cannot afford it, and that’s why we pushed like hell to invest in broadband deployment through the stimulus bill,” said Kerry in a statement. “While we will continue to push for the agencies to move the money quickly and give all Massachusetts applicants a fair hearing, I am extremely pleased to see that stimulus funds are now flowing.” 

“This is one way of reducing the much higher unemployment rate among minority and underserved communities,” added Lynch.

Dan Hays, director of the telecommunications practice at PRTM, a management consulting firm, was less enthusiastic about today’s announcement. He said that with just 18 projects of the 2200 applications receiving funding, and less than 2 percent of the appropriated monies being released, the first wave of awards is a real disappointment. “Despite the high level of interest expressed by applicants, and many intriguing projects submitted, it’s a real let down that more have not been approved even after a delay in the award date,” said Hays.

NTIA and RUS initially planned to announce the first round of awards in November but were overloaded with applications and subsequently delayed.

NTIA has posted more BTOP project information here:

http://www.ntia.doc.gov/

http://www.ntia.doc.gov/broadbandgrants/index.html

Grants Will Slip to February, NTIA Concedes in Third Quarter Progress Report To Congress

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WASHINGTON, November 18, 2009 – In a report to Congress, the NTIA said Wednesday that it won’t conclude doling out the first round of broadband stimulus funding until February 2010.

The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration clarified in its third quarterly progress report to Congress this week that it will be dolling out the entirety of the grant money during the next ten months.

The year 2010 is going to be a busy time for the period for both the NTIA and the Agriculture Department’s Rural Utilities is the other agency, the two government entities charged with distributing $7.2 billion of federal funding.

“NTIA will not conclude the first round of BTOP funding at the end of 2009 as originally targeted, but is on course to do so in February 2010,” states the report (PDF).

NTIA and RUS announced this month that they will limit the remaining grant awards to one more round of funding, which they write in the report “will begin early in 2010.”

All stimulus funding for the broadband initiatives must be distributed by September 30, 2010, according to a statutory deadline set by Congress.

The broadband projects awarded grants must be substantially completed by September 30, 2012, and fully completed by September 30, 2013, reads the report.

According to an NTIA spokeswoman, the agency is “currently developing program-specific post-award compliance and monitoring processes and guidelines that will include Recovery Act and BTOP reporting requirements.” She added that the agency expects to announce a second round notice of funding availability early in the New Year.

“Since the passage of the Recovery Act, NTIA has worked expeditiously to ensure that BTOP funds are distributed quickly, efficiently, and fairly,” according to the report. The document also contains information on NTIA’s efforts to accept and process applications and the application review process.

Earlier this month, RUS and NTIA said they are officially seeking public feedback on how to effectively get the funds to applicants who should be receiving them. A statement from the agencies noted the first round of the grant and loan programs produced about 2,200 applications requesting nearly $28 billion in funding, which is almost seven times the amount of funding available at this time.

Jonathan Adelstein, administrator of RUS said, “We will consider changes in the next NOFA to make the process more ‘applicant friendly’ from beginning to end.” NTIA said it will provide its next quarterly report to Congress no later than February 15, 2010.

Governors of Illinois and Kansas Winnow State Broadband Stimulus Applications

in Broadband Stimulus/NTIA/Premium Content by

October 20, 2009 – The states of Illinois and Kansas on Tuesday released their recommendations for the first round of broadband stimulus funding, with Illinois winnowing 140 applicants for broadband projects to a list of 31 proposed projects, and Kansas narrowing its pool of 85 applicants to 22.

Merely because a project is on the list of recommendations from a state does not guarantee acceptance by the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration and the Agriculture Department’s Rural Utilities Service – nor does it mean that the federal government must select from among candidates on the state-approved list.

In his October 14 letter to Lawrence Strickling, head of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, Gov. Pat Quinn said that from the time that he was chairman of the Illinois Broadband Deployment Council, “one of my long-standing priorities is to improve the cost, speed and availability of world-class information and communication networks in rural, low-income and disadvantaged communities.”

“I firmly believe that broadband progress made possible by the BTOP will hasten innovation in education, government, public safety, health care, economic and community development in Illinois,” said Quinn. “Seldom does one program offer such promise.”

In Kansas, the dollar sum of the 22 projects recommended by Gov. Mark Parkinson totaled $283 million, with the most expensive recommended project being that of Pixius Communications, requesting grant funding to construct a wireless middle mile network, for $55 million. The lowest-cost recommended grant belonged to the Miami County Medical Center, for $141,000, to upgrade T-1 lines replace digital subscriber lines for connectivity with eight rural clinics and one outpatient rehabilitation facility serving rural populations

In the portions of this story included below as premium content, BroadbandCensus.com provides links to uploaded copies of the October 14 letters of Govs. Quinn of Illinois and Mark Parkinson of Kansas, along with further information about the projects hotlined by the governors for approval by NTIA and RUS. The Illinois letter is also available on Broadband.illinois.gov.

Content available for Paid and Trial Subscribers of BroadbandCensus.com Weekly Report. Click here to subscribe.

[private_Premium Content][private_Free Trial]In Illinois, Quinn said that the state has made a $50 million state investment in broadband projects and has “partnered with public universities to provide grant writing assistance to groups seeking to serve Illinois, and finally, in the interest of smart planning, we called on our state transportation and [information technology] departments to install fiber optic duct (where it does not already exist) in all new public construction projects that open, bore, or trench alongside State-owned infrastructure.”

In Kansas, Gov. Parkinson said that the state established its own scoring criteria in which “a high level of emphasis was placed on the state’s priority areas (telemedicine, distance learning, economic development, e-government), as well as the needs of unserved and rural Kansans.”

Of the 85 applicants with projects in Kansas, 62 submitted self-scoring information.

Gov. Parkinson also highlighted the fact that the state “did not attempt to validate applicants’ claims of meeting the needs of unserved populations” because “providers and other applicants will have a period to voice such concerns through the federal process.”

Kansas

The October 14 letter to the NTIA by Gov. Mark Parkinson (PDF): ntia-letter-10-13-09

The October 14 PDF of Kansas’ prioritized projects: kansas-btop-recommended-projects

Below is a list of the 22 project recommended in Kansas, listed from the most costly to the least costly.

Applicant | Project title | Project type | Grant request | Description

  • Pixius Communications, LLC | Fixed Wireless Infrastructure Proposal for Kansas and portions of IA, MO, NE and OK | Middle Mile | $55,323,931 | Pixius Communications, LLC is requesting grant funding to construct a wireless middle mile network that will support (1) the expansion of Pixius’s wireless broadband service in rural unserved and underserved areas and (2) provision of new wireless services by other carriers. The project covers 98 counties in Kansas and certain surrounding counties in Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma.
  • Logiclink Inc. | Economically Sustainable Business Anywhere® Center for Broadband Adoption and Household Subscription | Sustainable Broadband Adoption | $41,519,307 | 1,731 self-serve centers providing free broadband access shall be implemented at public safety agencies, community anchor organizations and small businesses in all unserved and underserved rural counties. A membership program offering broadband based services such as training, health care, community development and business opportunities shall stimulate adoption and sustain household subscription.
  • Allegiance Communications | Allegiance Fiber To The Home | Last Mile Non-Remote Area | $31,436,003 | Fiber to the home deployment across Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, and Arkansas
  • EchoStar XI Operating L.L.C. | Customer Premises Equipment Coupon Program | Sustainable Broadband Adoption | $28,350,000 | The Customer Premises Equipment (“CPE”) Coupon Program will encourage wider adoption of broadband service by providing consumers with the training and equipment they will need to become successful broadband users. The program will also promote the availability of broadband service to increase awareness.
  • Connected Nation | EVERY CITIZEN ONLINE | Sustainable Broadband Adoption | $24,000,000 | Every Citizen Online is a public-private partnership program to enable computer ownership and broadband use in low-income homes. The program will help vulnerable populations overcome barriers to adoption. Joining together technology companies and local entities, the program will provide digital literacy and help unconnected consumers purchase a broadband-enabled computer using an instant rebate.
  • The World Company d/b/a Sunflower Broadband | Fiber to the Prairie | Last Mile Non-Remote Area | $18,008,144 | The project is a fiber-to-the-home Last Mile construction design for broadband services to rural underserved areas concentrated in the Kansas counties of Douglas and Leavenworth. The project includes a 146 Middle Mile component designed to provide higher performance broadband to underserved areas and community anchors.
  • Federation of American Scientists | Innovation in Education and Workforce Training; Critical Uses of a New Virtual World Framework | Sustainable Broadband Adoption | $14,809,084 | This project unites innovators in broadband education and training in creating a national software infrastructure that will dramatically transform the way education and training is created, maintained and delivered. Exemplar content (science and math games, green jobs and emergency response training) will prepare users for new jobs and drive broadband demand.
  • Nex-Tech Wireless, LLC | Far East Kansas Build (2) | Last Mile Non-Remote Area | $12,854,711 | This project aims to provide 3G wireless broadband coverage in underserved areas in far eastern Kansas. The majority of these areas are rural with less than 40 percent broadband penetration. The applicant is already an established wireless operator in Kansas and will leverage its experience building and maintaining a wireless network to successfully complete this project.
  • Xanadoo Broadband, LLC | Xanadoo – WiMAX service in Kansas | Last Mile Non-Remote Area | $10,018,196 | Xanadoo Broadband, LLC (the Applicant) and its affiliate Xanadoo, LLC (together “Xanadoo”) will build and operate a mobile terrestrial wireless network using WiMAX technology to deliver internet access speeds of at least 3-5 Mbs. The service area will cover 52 communities and over 300,000 people in eastern Kansas.
  • Kansas Broadband Internet, Inc. | Eastern Kansas WiMax Project | Last Mile Non-Remote Area | $9,086,387 | This “shovel ready”project is a cost effective wireless network using 4G WiMax technology to deliver high speed internet to rural areas. Key features of this network design are being able to rapidly deploy robust service offerings into new areas at a fraction of the cost of wire line networks and meeting the higher service level demands of today’s educational, entertainment and business needs.
  • American Fiber Systems, Inc. | BTOP: Expanding & Enabling Broadband Technology & Competition in the Kansas City, MO and KS area | Middle Mile | $6,129,946 | This shovel ready Mid Mile project will provide underserved areas, anchor institutions, children, health care, education & businesses with cost effective scalable access to a state of the art high capacity fiber network designed to provide broadband services & enable multiple Last Mile Providers. Since 2000 AFS has deployed & currently operates 9 open access networks of similar or greater scale.
  • Kansas Farm Bureau Foundation | Connect Kansas – Sustainable Broadband Adoption Initiative | Sustainable Broadband Adoption | $5,962,912 | Kansas Farm Bureau and Connected Nation propose a statewide broadband adoption initiative in accordance with the requirements of the BTOP’s sustainable broadband adoption category. The non-profit organizations are laying the foundation for unprecedented progress in digital literacy and use – the benefits of which will open a world of educational, economic, and social opportunities for Kansans.
  • Nex-Tech Wireless, LLC | East Kansas Build (1) | Last Mile Non-Remote Area | $5,553,317 | This project aims to expand 3G EV-DO Rev A wireless broadband coverage to underserved areas in east Kansas. These areas are primarily rural with less than 40 percent broadband penetration. The applicant is already an established wireless operator in Kansas and will leverage its existing spectrum and experience building and maintaining a wireless network to successfully complete this project.
  • Foundation Telecommunications Inc | FTI High Speed Satellite Internet Package for Rural & RemoteSmall Communities | Last Mile Remote Area | $5,246,703 | The Foundation Telecommunications, Inc. (“FTI”) proposes our Two-Way Commercial Satellite Internet Service to address 115 small rural communities across 10 states that are located so far from conventional terrestrial resources that DSL or other means will not likely be offered within the foreseeable future and is economically unjustifiable at this time.
  • Lawrence Freenet, Inc. | Freenet Underserved & Rural Broadband Initiative | Last Mile Non-Remote Area | $4,160,962 | Lawrence Freenet, Inc. broadband initiative to expand infrastructure, enabling access to broadband services for the unserved rural residents of Douglas County and provide broadband access to the underserved throughout Douglas County.
  • Kansas Board of Regents, Kan-ed | Kan-ed: Scaling Up Video Teleconferencing Services to Enhance Public Access in Kansas Libraries | Public Computer Center | $3,924,893 | Kan-ed will scale up high definition videoconferencing facilities in 90 public libraries in Kansas. Federal funding is requested to procure, install, and use HD videoconferencing equipment within the LAN at each premise. When complete, all 105 counties in Kansas will benefit from expanded access to economic development resources, distance education programs, telehealth and e-government services.
  • Kansas Farm Bureau Foundation | Connect Kansas – Sedan Broadband Communications Center | Public Computer Center | $2,057,546 | The Sedan Broadband Communication Center will give rural citizens access to technology and information that will allow them to solve individual and community problems. The SBCC will encompass all aspects of rural life, from education to health care to economic development. The SBCC will revitalize rural communities by forging new opportunities focused on technology, not size or location.
  • Broadband Alliance | Bi-lingual Broadband Education | Sustainable Broadband Adoption | $1,940,000 | In support of Broadband USA, we will be developing bi-ligual education programs to identify and assist rural and disadvantaged subscribers. To optimize learning we will use a variety of mediums to educate; including virtual coloring books and self paced on-line learning. As an additional feature we will be providing a wizard to help subscribers select the best service for their budget.
  • Home Communications, Inc. | Fiber To The Home in Rural Kansas | Last Mile Non-Remote Area | $1,002,438 | Home Communications, Inc. (“Home Communications”) proposes to bring broadband using fiber to the home (“FTTH”) technology to rural areas surrounding Canton, Kansas.
  • Level 3 EON, LLC | Expanding broadband access across Kansas | Middle Mile | $998,852 | Level 3 EON proposes a middle-mile project to leverage its national fiber optic network by opening new access points offering underserved areas a new on-ramp to high-speed services. By investing in additional fiber optic transmission equipment and supporting network elements last mile providers and their subscribers will gain access to the national Internet backbone at lower costs.
  • Cellular Network Partnerships | Barber County Mobile Broadband | Last Mile Non-Remote Area | $559,405 | Cellular Network Partners proposes to provide wireless broadband services in southwest Kansas. The $1,130,112 wireless project provides data and voice services to unserved and underserved areas. The shovel ready project will add 2 new construction jobs and 1 sustained jobs.
  • Miami County Medical Center | Broadband and Enhanced Medical Care (Equipment for Network only) | Sustainable Broadband Adoption | $141,116 | This preoject seeks toimprove the speed and efficiency of connectivity through the application and upgrading of T-1 lines between Olathe Medical Center and Miami County Medical Center and replace DSL lines for connectivity with 8 rural cllinics and 1 outpatient rehab facility serving the rural populations of Linn, Franklin and Miami County (Kansas)

Illinois

The October 14 letter to the NTIA by Gov. Pat Quinn (PDF): btop_prioritization

Below is a list of the 31 projects recommended by the state of Illinois:

18 highly recommended Infrastructure projects (alphabetical order):

  • 4SIWI LLC | 4SIWI 5 County Expansion proposal
  • Aurora, Illinois | Aurora Municipal Broadband for Education, Economic Development, Healthcare and the Digital Divide
  • Blackhawk Hills Resource Conservation & Development | Blackhawk Hills Fiber Optic System
  • Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois | Urbana-Champaign Big Broadband – Below Ground (UC2B Middle Mile & Last Mile Infrastructure)
  • Carl Sandburg College | EduNet Wireless Wide Area Network Expansion
  • Central Management Services | Illinois Century Network BIG: Bringing Illinois Gigaspeeds
  • City of Highland | FTTx Broadband Service to Underserved of Rural Highland, IL
  • City of Rockford | Greater Rockford Area Fiber Optic System
  • DeKalb County Government | DeKalb Advancement of Technology Authority Broadband
  • Delta Communications, LLC dba Clearwave Communications | Southern Illinois Middle Mile
  • Gargoyle Technologies, Inc. dba Volo Broadband | Champaign County Broadband Backbone
  • Gargoyle Technologies, Inc. dba Volo Broadband | Champaign County Volo
  • Geneseo Communications, Inc. | Rural Illinois Community Connect
  • Illinois Rural Electric Cooperative | West Central Illinois Broadband
  • Norlight Telecommunications, Inc. | Rural High-Speed Ethernet Network – Southern Illinois
  • SmartChicago Broadband Infrastructure | SmartChicago Broadband Infrastructure
  • South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association | SSMMA Regional Broadband Connectivity Project
  • Tel-Star Cablevision Inc. | QCRB (Quad County Rural Broadband)

9 highly recommended Public Computer Center projects (alphabetical order):

  • B&J Computers Inc. | B&J Training Center
  • Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois | Urbana-Champaign Big Broadband Above Ground
  • Center of Higher Development | Connecting, Widening, and Strengthening Communities
  • Housing Authority of the City of Rock Island | One Stop Technology Centers
  • Illinois Rural Electric Cooperative | West Central Illinois Computer Centers
  • Lawndale Business and Local Development Corp. | Lawndale Network Training Centers
  • Lumity | Lumity Community Centers Of Excellence Program
  • SmartChicago Public Computer Centers | SmartChicago Public Computer Centers
  • Zion-Benton Public Library District | Steps to Success

4 highly recommended Sustainable Broadband Adoption projects (alphabetical order):

  • Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois | Urbana-Champaign Big Broadband Above Ground SBA
  • Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois Fire Service Institute | Broadband at the University of Illinois Fire Service Institute Learning Resource and Research Center
  • Connect SI Foundation, Inc. | Connect SI Content Development Team (CDT)
  • SmartChicago Sustainable Broadband Adoption | SmartChicago Sustainable Broadband Adoption

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