The National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (NTIA) Enabling Middle Mile Broadband Infrastructure Program’s final awards will provide almost $50 million to four organizations in New Hampshire, Tennessee, Virginia and Wyoming.
The Middle Mile program had a budget of $1 billion. The majority of the funding was awarded earlier this year. The program, which was funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, pays for middle mile construction, improvement, acquisition and related administrative costs.
To date, the NTIA, which is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce, has made awards to 36 organizations in 40 states and territories. More than 260 applications totaling $7.47 billion in funding requests were received.
“Building robust middle mile networks is a vital step to ensuring every community has access to reliable and affordable high-speed internet service,” Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo said. “This investment in internet infrastructure, made possible by President Biden and his Investing in America agenda, will help close the digital divide and deliver the benefits and tools of our interconnected society to all of America.”
This last batch of awards will cover 27 counties and fund 518.5 miles of new fiber that pass within 1,000 feet of 164 anchor institutions. The projects, which all use fiber as their primary technology, will be supported by $23 million in outside matching funds.
Here is a list of the award winners:
- County of Grafton (NH; $11,969,000): The project will develop the 222-mile County of Grafton middle mile backbone through population centers by building new fiber optic cable to close gaps and leverage existing infrastructure to reduce the cost of buildout.
- Blue Ridge Advisory Services Group, Inc. (TN; $20,350,934.40): Built over four years, the proposed route will be 155 miles of new fiber cable that significantly improves the existing Scott County Telephone Cooperative (SCTC) network architecture by creating four new rings and closing several unprotected laterals. It spans across unserved areas and interconnects (via a network-to-network interface) with East Kentucky Networks.
- Mid-Atlantic Broadband Communities Corp.(VA; $16,393,565.20): Approximately 130 miles of new fiber will be installed to enable open-access middle mile connectivity and “enhance grant funds” for local ISPs and existing carriers. This project will increase their speed to the market and provide route diversity for last-mile broadband service to residential and business customers.
- Visionary Communications, LLC (WY; $1,261,170.90): The 11.5-mile project will bring critical fiber backhaul to the main tower site feeding Oriva Hills, substantially increasing the capacity available to address the broadband availability limitations and will be available for all last-mile providers to use. The fiber build will be augmented with the addition of two new tower sites, upgraded microwave backhauls, high-capacity microwave links and fiber backhaul to facilitate 100/20 Mbps fixed wireless service to nearly every unserved residence in Oriva Hills.