Update – more details about actual projects and funding amounts may be found here. Original post follows.
The long awaited day is here. The federal government has announced the first grant awards for the $7.2 billion broadband stimulus program. Vice President Joe Biden will formally announce the grant awards at a ceremony in Dawsonville, Georgia.
Eighteen projects have been selected with a total dollar value of $182 million. Both RUS and NTIA projects have been approved. RUS will award $53.8 million in funding for eight projects and NTIA will announce $129 million in funding for ten projects. The initial awards fund a variety of project types. A few are outlined below:
- Biddeford Internet Corporation – a public-private partnership between service providers and the University of Maine, will receive a $25.4 million Recovery Act grant to construct middle-mile infrastructure across rural Maine. The project, known as the “Three Ring Binder,” will include three fiber-optic rings extending from the most rural and disadvantaged areas of the state, to the coast, and through the mountainous regions of western Maine. The 1,100-mile network will pass more than 100 communities with 110,000 households, 600 anchor institutions, and a number of last-mile providers. The project will connect 10 University of Maine campuses and outreach centers, three community colleges, and 38 government facilities.
- Consolidated Electric Cooperative (CEC) – CEC will receive a grant/loan combination of $2.4 million to construct a 166-mile middle-mile network in North Central Ohio. The project will bring major-city connectivity into underserved areas and connect anchor institutions and the facilities of wireless Internet service providers. In addition, the CEC network will connect all 16 of its electric substations to support its Smart Grid technology initiative, facilitating the implementation of cutting-edge green technology and supporting economic development in the region.
- Bretton Woods Telephone Company – a last-mile grant to the New Hampshire based telco for a fiber-to-the-home project. This project will provide broadband to end users in the Bretton Woods community, a remote area in northern New Hampshire with a tourism-based economy. It will pass 386 households, 19 businesses, and six community anchor institutions, allowing all potential customers to receive two-way broadband service of up to 20 Mbps.
- Rivada Sea Lion – an Alaska Native Corporation, to provide 4G wireless high-speed broadband Internet service to approximately 30,000 residents in 53 unserved, subsistence level communities in southwestern Native Alaska. Rivada will design, engineer, and construct a multi-mode 4G last-mile remote network that spans 90,000 square miles and connects homes and businesses as well as anchor institutions such as health clinics, schools, and tribal government facilities.
The process will continue over the next three months, with NTIA and RUS awarding additional grants. Hundreds of existing applications are in the ‘due diligence’ phase, where they are being scrutinized before potentially being chosen for funding. Round two of the program, where new applications can be submitted, is expected to commence sometime in the first quarter of 2010.