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Phil Goldstein

Businesses Need Thoughtful Projects to Capture Broadband Stimulus Funds, Say Panelists

in Broadband Stimulus/NTIA by

WASHINGTON, October 13, 2009 – Before submitting a proposal to the government broadband stimulus funds, a business enterprise needs to present a thoughtful, well drafted project involving the contracting of professional project managers, said participants in a Tuesday webinar on grant applications.

“It would be important to consider hiring a consultant who is well versed with what your company wants to achieve,” advised Laurie Itkin, director of government affairs for Cricket Communications.

Itkin’s company provides low-cost broadband services mainly young and lower-income subscribers.  The lower-income brackets make up to half of the subscribers with Cricket that have not previously been subscribed  to any form of internet services.

Furthermore, it is important that applicants include all business disciplines in this planning team, and have all areas polished up before making a presentation, she said.

Itkin was speaking at an event, “Making the Most of Broadband Stimulus Funds” sponsored by the Rural Mobile Broadband Alliance, and organized by Phil Goldstein, editor of the news publication FierceWireless.

Itkin and other panelists urged the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration to revise their criteria in order to better include the underserved. Additionally, they wanted additional guidance on non-discrimination and inter-connection requirements.

The one-hour webinar advised would-be applicants that the process of applying for the funds can be a daunting task.

Jeff Carlisle, vice president of regulatory affairs at SkyTerra, talked about the efficiency of satellite to enhance communications as his firm’s leading motivation to apply for the funds.

“We would like to make communication with handheld devices – such as the mobile phone – more efficient to the users,” he said.

Tim Mason, director of global solutions marketing for wireless networks solutions at Motorola, advised applicants to make sure they articulate how they will enable broadband use to get to the domestic unreached people, especially the rural communities.

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BroadbandCensus.com was launched in January 2008, and uses “crowdsourcing” to collect the Broadband SPARC: Speeds, Prices, Availability, Reliability and Competition. The news on BroadbandCensus.com is produced by Broadband Census News LLC, a subsidiary of Broadband Census LLC that was created in July 2009.

A recent split of operations helps to clarify the mission of BroadbandCensus.com. Broadband Census Data LLC offers commercial broadband verification services to cities, states, carriers and broadband users. Created in July 2009, Broadband Census Data LLC produced a joint application in the NTIA’s Broadband Technology Opportunities Program with Virginia Tech’s eCorridors Program. In August 2009, BroadbandCensus.com released a beta map of Columbia, South Carolina, in partnership with Benedict-Allen Community Development Corporation.

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