Every U.S. state and territory, as well as the District of Columbia, won broadband stimulus funding yesterday when the National Telecommunications and Information Administration made 56 awards totaling $190 million in the State Broadband Data and Development (SBDD) grant program.
In addition the NTIA made six sustainable broadband adoption awards, six public computer center awards and two comprehensive community infrastructure awards totaling $206.8 million. These awards apparently represent the final awards that will be issued by the NTIA under the broadband stimulus program.
But NTIA’s work is far from over, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said in an award announcement yesterday. Noting that the NTIA has funded 233 broadband stimulus projects, mostly for middle mile infrastructure, Locke said, “We will be overseeing these projects to ensure they are completed on schedule and within budget, and deliver the promised benefits to the communities they serve.”
The SBDD program was launched in 2009 with the goal of helping state entities or non-profit organizations to facilitate the integration of broadband and information technology into state and local economies. “Economic development, energy efficiency, and advances in education and health care rely not only on broadband infrastructure, but also on the knowledge and tools to leverage that infrastructure,” the NTIA said in the announcement. The SBDD funds also will be used to extend data collection and validation efforts related to creating an interactive national broadband map for three more years beyond the two-year period previously funded.
In the announcement, the NTIA singled out awards made in several states as examples of the kinds of projects for which funding would be used. For example, the Massachusetts Broadband Cooperative was awarded nearly $3 million to provide technical assistance to small businesses and non-profit organizations to help them improve operations through broadband and technology use. And Connect Arkansas was awarded $4 million to expand online county government services, particularly in rural communities, with the goal of allowing residents to access these services from their homes.
The NTIA is administering the broadband stimulus program with the Rural Utilities Service, and all remaining broadband stimulus funds are scheduled for awarding this week. But it is unclear how much money the RUS may have available to award this week. The RUS issues awards as a combination of grants and loans, which has enabled it already to award more than the $2.5 billion for which it was responsible. According to a timeline issued in early August, the RUS would already have made all of its awards by now. But both the NTIA and RUS have departed significantly from the early August awards timeline.
A complete list of the SBDD awards made yesterday can be found here.
A complete list of the other awards made by the NTIA yesterday is available here.