It’s hard to believe that the $7.2 billion broadband stimulus program was signed into law as a part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 almost 18 months ago. What’s even more interesting is that with just about two months to go until the September 30, 2010 deadline to announce all of the awards, over half of the announced funds, or roughly $4.2 billion, has yet to be awarded (the total figure is subject to debate, since there is an effort to reclaim $602 million from the program).
That should make the next 60 days quite interesting. Will the program look to fund the larger requests to help put a bigger dent in the remaining funds, or will they look to fund many more smaller projects? Some of the bigger requests come from large players. For example Qwest asked for $350 million and Windstream is requesting $238 million. Between the two of them, that’s roughly 15% of the remaining funds right there.
NTIA received 867 applications, requesting $11B in funding for the second round, while RUS received 776 requests for $11.2B, so there’s no shortage of demand for the remaining funds.
With all of that money to distribute, the broadband stimulus program will announce awards over the next two months equivalent to roughly $70 million per day. The broadband stimulus program will have to make a quarterly report to Congress in mid-August, so I suspect we’ll see decent activity before then. Stay tuned.