There was $7.2 billion up for grabs from the broadband stimulus program, $2.5 billion of which was mostly earmarked for last mile broadband access. According to the FTTH Council, most of the projects and corresponding funding for last mile broadband access was awarded to FTTH projects, primarily through the Rural Utilities Service BIP program..
Due to matching grants and loans, RUS actually counts $3.5 billion towards the program, which funded 297 broadband infrastructure projects, all of which are listed on the Broadband USA website.
According to the FTTH Council’s math, 156 FTTH projects accounted for $2.33 billion of the total funding, or roughly 1/2 of the projects and 2/3 of the total funding.
Not much surprise here – we’ve been following the awardees pretty closely over the past 18 months. I’m certainly pro-FTTH and believe that any service provider who can go FTTH, should. But the FTTH funding under the broadband stimulus program does create somewhat of a mixed message.
The national broadband plan, which came about as a direct result of the stimulus program, implies that DSL and wireless technology are the best methods available to achieve its objectives. Yet federal funding appears to be favoring FTTH, perhaps rightly so.
Remember that saying, ‘one of those things that makes you go hmmmm?’