Pages

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Senator Kerry Applauds Broadband Stimulus Award for Boston

Centers Will Ensure Low Income Communities Will Have Expanded, Better Broadband Access

Office of Sen. John F. Kerry via StimulatingBroadband.com 12/17/09 Boston - Massachusetts Senators John Kerry and Paul Kirk, and Congressmen Edward Markey, Michael Capuano and Stephen Lynch, together with Governor Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino today announced that the City of Boston will receive $1,906,439 from the Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) for its Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) initiative.

In the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Congress recognized the need to promote equal access and opportunity for all Americans, no matter where they live. In particular, the BTOP prioritized three categories of projects: broadband infrastructure in unserved or underserved areas, public computing centers and sustainable broadband adoption projects, as key to ensuring that no one is left behind.

Broadband adoption depends on the underserved residents of the city having ready access to computers and the basic training. However, the stark reality is that many Boston citizens do not have home computers. This new investment will fund a coordinated project among three community anchors to provide upgraded and expanded hardware, software, and public computing training in 26 public libraries, 11 public housing developments, and 16 Centers for Youth and Families in Boston.

"In Boston, 80% of public school kids have no broadband service at home in large part because their parents cannot afford it, and that's why we pushed like hell to invest in broadband deployment through the stimulus bill. The grants the city is receiving today will make it possible for kids to go to a nearby library or community center and access the same technology that kids in more privileged suburbs receive without thinking twice," said Senator Kerry.

"While we will continue to push for the agencies to move the money quickly and give all Massachusetts applicants a fair hearing, I am extremely pleased to see that stimulus funds are now flowing. And they are flowing to communities around the country to connect the hard to reach to broadband services and everything those services make possible."

"The initial awards announced today maximize the bang for the buck by focusing on establishing either middle mile connections or public computing centers that will act as hubs lighting up whole communities with broadband capabilities they otherwise would not have or would not be able to tap in to. Boston earned one of these initial grants for $1.9 million. The money will make it possible for libraries, public housing communities, and community centers to greatly expand broadband access for job hunters, kids seeking an education, immigrants to work on their English language skills and access Spanish language news, and numerous other life enhancing activities," concluded the senior U.S. Senator from Massachusetts.

“Affordable, dependable broadband for Boston is essential in today’s world,” said Senator Paul G. Kirk, Jr. “Access to high speed internet is an absolute necessity for education and for business. This federal grant is an important step in seeing that families and firms in Boston will have the high-speed internet access they need and deserve.”

“Today’s announcement is a significant step towards bridging the digital divide that separates many low-income residents of our state from the technology they need to access educational and job opportunities. This funding is targeted where the digital divide has been the widest - at public housing sites, community centers, and libraries. There, those who need it most--including people with disabilities, seniors, students and others--will now be able to participate in a range of programs vital for success in the 21st century economy. Congratulations to Mayor Menino, Governor Patrick, Senators Kerry and Kirk and our entire congressional delegation for working together to address these important issues,” said Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.).

“The stimulus bill is about putting people to work,” said Congressman Mike Capuano. “Sustaining workforce development in the 21st century means creating access to computers and training individuals on how to use them. I applaud the NTIA for this decision and congratulate the City of Boston.”

“This is one way of reducing the much higher unemployment rate among minority and underserved communities. By improving computer competency among underserved populations we can create a better-educated work force, one that is better-prepared for this increasingly knowledge-based economy,” Congressman Stephen F. Lynch said.

“Boston’s award will give residents critical access to computers and new training and address digital inclusion challenges for citizens of all ages,” said Governor Patrick. “In coordination with the City’s other pending applications, these recovery funds promise to make Boston a national leader and fulfill President Obama and Congress’ goal of expanding opportunity by expanding broadband. I look forward to prompt and favorable action on our applications for Western Massachusetts and the Cape, so that we can deliver broadband’s economic, educational and public safety benefits to all of our unserved and underserved communities.”

“This grant award is wonderful news for the City of Boston and is once again proof that we are leading the way not only in applying for and getting crucial ARRA funding, but are doing so to further our progressive agenda of spreading innovative technology throughout the city,” said Mayor Thomas M. Menino.

“We will continue to be highly competitive in our ongoing pursuit of ARRA funding to bring technology into all of Boston’s underserved homes. I want to thank Senators John Kerry, Senator Paul Kirk, Governor Deval Patrick and Congressmen Edward Markey, Michael Capuano and Stephen Lynch for their continued support in obtaining this funding," concluded Boston's chief executive, recently reelected to an fifth term in office.

The City has pledged to help other cities that may be interested in its approach to digital inclusion and public safety.
StimulatingBroadband.com

The Dahlonega Nugget - BREAKING NEWS: Biden unveils local broadband blueprint

The Dahlonega Nugget via StimulatingBroadband.com 12/17/09 Dawsonville (GA) - by Wayne Knuckles, Editor and Publisher, The Dahlonega Nugget - Vice President Joe Biden put north Georgia in the national spotlight Thursday with an appearance at a Dawsonville manufacturing facility to announce the first funding awards from the $7.2 billion broadband stimulus program approved by Congress in February.

Biden said Lumpkin County, Dawson County and other members of a consortium known at the North Georgia Network Cooperative will greatly benefit from the $33 million in stimulus funds that have been awarded for a project to create a state-of-the-art fiber optics network that will serve as the high-capacity Internet backbone for a 12-county north Georgia region.

"New broadband access means more capacity and better reliability in rural areas and underserved urban communities around the country. Businesses will be able to improve their customer service and better compete around the world," said Biden.

"This is what the Recovery Act is all about - sparking new growth, tapping into the ingenuity of the American people and giving folks the tools they need to help build a new economy in the 21st-century."

Gov. Sonny Perdue accompanied the vice president to Dawsonville. The project has also been awarded a grant of $2.5 million from the OneGeorgia Authority.

“Broadband is the new dial tone of the 21st century,” Gov. Perdue said. “Internet access is as important to our communications infrastructure today as reliable telephone service was a century ago. Creating an advanced network will promote economic development, expand educational opportunities and improve the availability and efficiency of government services.”

The estimated $42 million project will created a 260-mile regional fiber optic ring that local officials say is vital to attracting new jobs and industry to the region.

The project has the potential to create 837 direct jobs during the construction phase, but local officials say that may be the tip of the iceberg compared to the thousands of potential jobs that the availability of high-capacity Internet in the region could stimulate. It will take an estimated three years from the start of construction to complete.

The project grew out of a realization by Bruce Abraham, executive director of the Development Authority of Lumpkin County, in late 2007 that a lack of high-capacity Internet was crippling the region's ability to economic development. The Development Authority authorized Abraham to pursue the project, which grew into a partnership with Dawson, Union and White counties to seek a $240,000 OneGeorgia grant to determine the initial feasibility of the the proposed project.

North Georgia College & State University and Forsyth County, while not eligible for OneGeorgia funds, agreed to invest $4,800 each to partner in the venture. Habersham Electric Membership Cooperative and Blue Ridge Mountain EMC also signed on to become members of what came to be called the North Georgia Network Cooperative.

The local grant was part of a total of $182 million in funding for 18 broadband projects in 17 states announced by Biden's office Thursday. The vice president's appearance in Dawsonville for Thursday's announcements is an indication the Obama administration is not playing politics with the economic stimulus funds approved by Congress, according to a spokesman.

"North Georgia is not a particularly blue hue. It's a beautiful place," White House press secretary Robert Gibbs was quoted as telling reporters at a Wednesday briefing by the Web site Politico.com. Counties impacted by the local broadband initiative include Union, Towns, Rabun, Habersham, White, Lumpkin, Dawson and Forsyth.

See the next edition of The Dahlonega Nugget for complete coverage of this breaking news story.


This content is Copyright 2009 by The Dahlonega Nugget, and used with permission under agreement with StimulatingBroadband.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be broadcast, published, rewritten or redistributed without written permission of The Dahlonega Nugget.

Photo Credit: Staff Photo by Matt Aiken, The Dahlonega Nugget

Biden Announces 18 Broadband Stimulus Project Awards

White House press release via StimulatingBroadband.com 12-17-09 - DAWSONVILLE, Ga. – Vice President Biden today kicked off $7.2 billion in Recovery Act broadband grant and loan programs, of which $2 billion will be made available on a rolling basis over the next 75 days to bring high-speed Internet to communities that currently have little or no access to the technology.

Vice President Joe Biden at Impulse Manufacturing, Dawsonville, GA
At an event at Impulse Manufacturing in Dawsonville, Georgia, with Governor Sonny Perdue (R-GA), he announced an initial $183 million investment in eighteen broadband projects benefiting seventeen states which has already been matched by over $46 million in public and private sector capital. The awards are not only expected to provide initial job opportunities in infrastructure and manufacturing, but help bridge the digital divide and boost economic development for communities held back by limited or no access to the technology.

“New broadband access means more capacity and better reliability in rural areas and underserved urban communities around the country. Businesses will be able to improve their customer service and better compete around the world,” said Vice President Biden. “This is what the Recovery Act is all about – sparking new growth, tapping into the ingenuity of the American people and giving folks the tools they need to help build a new economy in the 21st-century.”

The projects receiving funds today are the first in the $7.2 billion program – $4.7 billion through the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and $2.5 through the Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS) – being implemented under the Recovery Act to expand broadband access and adoption across the country.

The awards are designed to help underserved – and often hard-hit – communities overcome the distance and technology barrier by expanding connectivity between educational institutions, enabling remote medical consultations and attracting new businesses – as well as the jobs that come with them. They are part of an over $100 billion investment in science, technology and innovation the Administration is making through the Recovery Act to lay a new foundation for economic growth.


“Broadband is the new dial tone of the 21st-century,” said Governor Perdue. “Internet access is as important to our communications infrastructure today as reliable telephone service was a century ago. Creating an advanced network will promote economic development, expand educational opportunities and improve the availability and efficiency of government services.”

The National Economic Council today released a report, “Recovery Act Investment in Broadband: Leveraging Federal Dollars to Create Jobs and Connect America,” which found that Recovery Act investments in broadband will create tens of thousands of jobs in the near term and expand opportunities and economic development in communities that would otherwise be left behind in the new knowledge-based economy.

As part of today’s announcement, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke traveled to Bangor, Maine, where he announced $25.4 million in grants to build broadband infrastructure throughout rural and disadvantaged portions of parts of the state. On Tuesday, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will travel to Ohio to discuss how a $2.4 million broadband award will help boost economic development in the region and connect the local community to the smart energy grid.

"Expanding high-speed Internet access is critical to improving America’s economic competitiveness," said Secretary Locke. "Unless we use the 21st-century tools at our disposal, America will never be as connected as it could be. And that connection is crucial for our economic future."

“These broadband investments continue the Obama Administration’s efforts to create jobs, expand economic opportunities and build a stronger rural America,” said Secretary Vilsack. “We must take steps to keep the institutions that are the heart and soul of our communities strong, and that is why many of these grants and loans support anchor institutions – such as libraries, public buildings and community centers – that are necessary for the viability of rural communities.”

Four different types of awards were made today:
  • Middle Mile Awards – $121.6 million to build and improve connections to communities lacking sufficient broadband access.

  • Last Mile Awards – $51.4 million to connect end users like homes, hospitals and schools to their community’s broadband infrastructure (the middle mile).

  • Public Computing – $7.3 million to expand computer center capacity for public use in libraries, community colleges and other public venues. 

  • Sustainable Adoption – $2.4 million to fund innovative projects that promote broadband demand with population groups where the technology has traditionally been underutilized.
The following Middle Mile awards were made through the Department of Commerce:

GEORGIA: North Georgia Network Cooperative, Inc., $33.5 million grant with an additional $8.8 million in matching funds to deploy a 260-mile regional fiber-optic ring to deliver gigabit broadband speeds, reliability, affordability, and abundant interconnection points for last mile service in the North Georgia foothills.

MAINE: Biddeford Internet Corp. (d.b.a. GWI), $25.4 million grant with an additional $6.4 million in matching funds to build a 1,100-mile open access fiber-optic network extending to the most rural and disadvantaged areas of the state of Maine, from the Saint John Valley in the north, to the rocky coastline of downeast Maine, to the mountainous regions of western Maine.

NEW YORK: ION Hold Co., LLC, $39.7 million grant with an additional $9.9 million in matching funds to build 10 new segments of fiber-optic, middle mile broadband infrastructure, serving more than 70 rural communities in upstate New York and parts of Pennsylvania and Vermont.
(Editor's Note: ION Hold Co., LLC is a subsidiary of Atlantic Tele-Network, Inc., NASDAQ: ATNI).

SOUTH DAKOTA: South Dakota Network, LLC, $20.6 million grant with an additional $5.1 million in matching funds to add 140 miles of backbone network and 219 miles of middle mile spurs to existing network, enabling the delivery of at least 10 Mbps service to more than 220 existing anchor institution customers in rural and underserved areas of the state.

The following Public Computer Center awards were made through the Department of Commerce:

ARIZONA: Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records, $1.3 million grant with matching funds of $320,000 to enhance existing facilities in more than 80 public libraries throughout the state. The project expects to deploy more than 1,000 computers to meet growing demand.

MASSACHUSETTS: City of Boston, $1.9 million grant with matching funds of $477,000 to expand computer and Internet capacity at the city’s main library and 25 branches, 16 community centers, and 11 public housing sites.

MINNESOTA: Regents of the University of Minnesota, $2.9 million grant with matching funds of $741,000 to enhance broadband awareness and use for residents in four federally-designated poverty zones in Minneapolis and St. Paul.

WASHINGTON: The Inland Northwest Community Access Network (Tincan), $1.3 million grant with matching funds of $753,000 to establish three new public computer centers and expand 14 existing centers throughout Spokane’s poorest neighborhoods to serve more than 5,000 additional users per week.

The following Sustainable Broadband Adoption awards were made through the Department of Commerce:

NEW MEXICO: New Mexico State Library, $1.5 million grant with an additional $591,000 in matching funds to increase broadband adoption and promote computer literacy and Internet use among vulnerable populations, Hispanic and Native American users, small businesses, and entrepreneurs through trainings and outreach statewide.

WASHINGTON: The Inland Northwest Community Access Network, $981,000 grant with an additional $728,000 in matching funds to increase broadband adoption through basic and advanced computer skill training, as well as community-based outreach campaigns to highlight the benefits of broadband for vulnerable populations in Spokane.

The following Last Mile and Middle Mile awards were made today through the U.S. Department of Agriculture:

ALASKA: Anchorage, Rivada Sea Lion, LLC, $25.3 million grant with $6.4 million of leveraged funds; 4G high-speed broadband internet service availability to more than 9,000 unserved locations in a 90,000 square mile area where these Southwestern Alaska inhabitants are living at subsistence level.

HAWAII: Big Island Broadband/Aloha Broadband, Inc., $106,503 loan with matching funds of $87,405 to bring broadband services to an unserved area in the northern part of the islands where there are nearly 600 residents and businesses.

COLORADO/NEBRASKA: Peetz, Colorado, Peetz Cooperative Telephone Co., $1.5 million grant; expansion of existing infrastructure utilizing a combination of technologies. This project will make broadband service available to as many as 550 locations in the service area.

MICHIGAN: The Chatham Telephone Company, $8.6 million grant to bring high speed DSL broadband service to remote, unserved businesses and households within its rural territory; service that is comparable to the DSL service provided in its more populated areas.

NEW HAMPSHIRE: Bretton Woods, The Bretton Woods Telephone Company, $985,000 grant for 20 Mbps two-way broadband service to all potential customers and stimulate tourism in the area to substantially improve the local economy. This Fiber to The Premise service will be available to more than 400 locations.

NEW YORK: Potsdam, Slic Network Solutions (Nicholville Telephone) a grant of $4.3 million and loan of $1.1 million for a 136-mile fiber optic network reaching into five towns in rural Franklin County. This all-fiber network will deliver broadband voice, and IPTV services to remote rural areas. The network will offer service to more than 6,500 locations.

OHIO: North Central Ohio Rural Fiber Optic Network, Consolidated Electric Cooperative, $1,034,413 grant and $1,399,499 loan; and matching funds of $1,225,000. The funding is integral to a smart grid initiative and broadband service based on an open-connectivity fiber optic backbone network.

OKLAHOMA: Southeast Oklahoma, The Pine Telephone Company, $9.5 grant with an additional $4.6 million in private funds to provide services to an entirely remote, rural, unserved and severely economically disadvantaged community.

Topic Resources at StimulatingBroadband on Scribd:

1. Folder: Awards of 12-17-2009

2. Press Release: "Vice President Biden Kicks Off $7.2 Billion Recovery Act Broadband Program"


3. Press Release: "Background on the Vice President's Recovery Act Announcement"

4. Executive Office of the President: "Recovery Act Investments in Broadband"


StimulatingBroadband.com

Consultancy Civitium Helps North Georgia Network Cooperative Land $33 Million Broadband Stimulus Award

Fiber Optic Project Becomes Flagship for First Awards in the $7.2B Broadband Stimulus Program

StimulatingBroadband.com 12/17/09 San Francisco - One of the keys to success behind the featured award to be announced this morning by Vice President Joseph Biden of a $33 million federal grant award to the North Georgia Network Cooperative (NGN) today is a Georgia based consulting firm skilled in broadband public - private partnerships.

Under the direction of the Development Authority of Lumpkin County, Ga., Civitium, LLC of Alpharetta, GA led the development of the project from inception through feasibility, network design, organizational structure, financial planning and grant preparation.

Civitium, a specialized consulting firm focused on the planning and management of next‐generation broadband networks, worked with leaders throughout north Georgia since early 2008 to develop and mature the project. The firm also supported NGN during an intense due diligence phase with the NTIA.

“This project has the potential to transform north Georgia’s economic development potential,” said Greg Richardson, founder and managing partner for Civitium, stated in a company press release of today. “We are honored to have played a part in helping NGN reach this important milestone.”

Civitium’s skill in the public, private and nonprofit broadband sectors helped produce a collaborative model that leverages the strengths of numerous stakeholders. The network relies on the resources of local electric utilities for customer service and network operations and incorporates an advisory board of economic development and public benefit organizations. The project is highly efficient, making use of existing fiber where available.


Bruce Abraham, executive director of the Development Authority of Lumpkin County, the lead public agency for the project, stated, “We couldn’t have reached this point without the advice and assistance of the Civitium team. Their passion, commitment, expertise and problem‐solving ability is unparalleled in my 20 plus years of experience.”

The NGN network will traverse twelve counties in north Georgia, providing a backbone that directly connects to the southeast’s largest Internet exchange in Atlanta. The network will serve dozens of anchor institutions along this backbone, including public schools, local governments, technical colleges, large businesses, healthcare providers
and other organizations with high‐bandwidth needs.

In addition, it will offer advanced fiber‐to‐the‐home services in key underserved areas. Finally, the network will adhere to so‐called open access principles, insuring that any cable, DSL, or wireless operator will be able to interconnect and extend their own services throughout the region.


About Civitium
Civitium provides in‐depth consulting for planning, deploying, and managing next generation fiber optic and wireless broadband networks. Civitium’s clients – which include local exchange carriers, cellular operators, government agencies, public safety agencies, electric utilities, cooperatives, and not for profits. StimulatingBroadband.com

NTIA's Strickling: "300 - 400" Broadband Stimulus Applications Now in Due Diligence Phase

StimulatingBroadband.com 12/17/09 San Francisco - Lawrence E. Strickling, U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce and Administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) yesterday stated that "300 to 400" project applications for broadband stimulus funding are now being reviewed for grant and loan awards in the 'due diligence phase' of the federal government's application review process.

This is the first time a federal official has made a direct statement estimating how many applications are in the final evaluation pipeline as agencies scramble to issue funding Round I awards by an unspecified time in February 2010.

Administrator Strickling gave that answer to a direct question asked by StimulatingBroadband.com during a media conference call with officials of the Obama Administration convened yesterday to discuss today's announcement of the first 18 broadband stimulus funding awards. We posed the question, "How many total project applications have been moved to the due diligence phase of the review process from among the approximate 2,200 applications filed in August?"

Today's awards, representing $182 million from an expected 'total program spend' of $12 - $13 billion, are for projects in the entire group of nearly 2,200 applications filed by the final deadline of this past August 20th. The balance between the $7.2 billion in broadband stimulus monies appropriated by Congress in the Recovery Act and the estimated total dollar value to be expended by the program is attributable to the significant loan leverage capacity managed by the
Rural Utilities Service (RUS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. RUS is NTIA's sister agency co-managing the broadband program.

Under rules issued by the 2 agencies, review of of each application is slated to go through a two tiered process. Phase II, or the due diligence phase of the process, is a series of detailed investigations of specific applications winnowed down from the initial universe of all project funding requests. Included in the due diligence phase is the evaluation by the agencies of the Public Notice Filings issued by incumbent telecommunications carriers arguing that they already are providing broadband services in an applicant's "proposed service area."

Unknown at this time is if the "300 to 400" number means that some 1,800 applications have been rejected to date, or if an even higher number will be passed into the due diligence phase. We have asked agency officials for clarification about the application processing numbers as stated by Mr. Strickling yesterday, and will report answers as we receive them. StimulatingBroadband.com

Obama Administration Begins Broadband Stimulus Investments

StimulatingBroadband.com 11/17/09 San Francisco - The Obama Administration this morning will announce the award of broadband stimulus grant and loan funding for 18 projects budgeted at a total of $229 million, including local match funds. Federal stimulus funds equal $182 million within this larger project total.



StimulatingBroadband.com yesterday broke the project award announcement story nationally, based on our sources within government and industry in Georgia, where Vice President Joseph R. Biden will this morning announce details of all 18 projects. The Vice President's prepared remarks have not been released by the White House as of this posting. We will carry them here as soon as they are issued.



The 18 projects, spread across 17 states, and all funded by Round I of the total $7.2 billion broadband stimulus program within the Recovery Act (ARRA), will be announced in 2 other separate venues by Administration officials, and in a series of previously embargoed documents slated to begin being released now, at 6:00 AM (ET) today. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will announce grant and loan awards at a press event in Ohio, while Commerce Secretary Gary Locke will to the same at a scheduled stop in Maine.



The Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) will fund 10 of the announced projects valued at total project costs of $163 million, with $129 million in federal funds. The Broadband Initiatives Program (BIP) of the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) will fund 8 programs with total project costs of $66 million, leveraging $53.178 million of federal stimulus monies.



Of the 18 projects to be announced this morning, 7 are highlighted in a 16 page report (below) issued yesterday by the National Economic Council of the Executive Office of the President. The report, described in a telephone conference of yesterday was embargoed until this morning.





Topic Resources at StimulatingBroadband on Scribd:



1. Folder: Awards of 12-17-2009



2. Press Release: "Background on the Vice President's Recovery Act Announcement"



3. Executive Office of the President: "Recovery Act Investments in Broadband"




StimulatingBroadband.com

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Biden to Announce First Broadband Stimulus Awards Tomorrow in Georgia

An Exclusive Breaking News Report from StimulatingBroadband.com
StimulatingBroadband.com 12/16/09 San Francisco - Vice President Joseph R. Biden will announce the first grant and loan awards funded by the broadband stimulus program of the federal Recovery Act tomorrow, December 17, in the rural town of Dawsonville, Georgia.

StimulatingBroadband.com has today confirmed reports initially received yesterday that the Obama Administration will use a venue in rural Georgia to make the announcement of the first funding awards from the $7.2 billion broadband stimulus program.

The office of the Vice President has not announced Mr. Biden's travel schedule for tomorrow, as of this posting. We are however confirming that the initial reports we have had now for 24 hours have been confirmed by confidential sources in government and the communications industry in Georgia.


View StimultingBroadband.com Locations in a larger map

This morning The Dahlongea Nugget, the weekly newspaper published from Dahlongea, Georgia, broke the story that the Vice President will be traveling to Dawsonville to "
discuss how Recovery Act investments are improving communities and creating jobs in Georgia and rural areas across the country."

StimulatingBroadband.com will be updating this story as information becomes available.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Breaking News: NTIA Working to Fix Broadband Stimulus Public Comment Site

StimulatingBroadband.com 12/01/09 Boston - The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has confirmed that it is now working to resolve a series of technical issues which emerged yesterday with the federal agency's online site used to collect public comments for the new funding round of the broadband stimulus program of the Recovery Act.

As StimulatingBroadband.com reported last evening, the site has generated a significant level technical problems to the point that many filed comments are garbled and illegible, and some applicants have not seen their filed comments posted to date.

In an email update received this afternoon form the lead public affairs spokesperson at NTIA, the agency has announced that the online site has become plagued with "coding issues," which federal employees and (we believe) retained contractors are now working to resolve. The statement received this afternoon is as follows:

"We are working to resolve certain coding issues with the RFI comment page which caused some commenters’ attachments to appear illegible. And, we are taking the steps necessary to ensure that everyone’s comments are properly accounted for and displayed," Jessica Schafer, Director of Media Relations, NTIA, U.S. Department of Commerce.
StimulatingBroadband.com

Stimulating Global Broadband: Zhone’s EFM Gear Selected by UK Provider Updata for Public Sector Broadband Initiatives

Zhone Press Release via StimulatingBroadband.com Oakland, CA — 12/01/09 Zhone Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: ZHNE), a global leader in network access solutions, announced today that Updata has selected Zhone’s EFM platforms to help meet government sponsored broadband initiatives throughout the UK.

Updata designs, builds and manages carrier-class networks for UK public sector institutions including government, healthcare and education. Zhone’s EFM platform breadth and ease of management were cited by Updata as winning factors in the selection criteria.
More economical for end-consumers than E1 and fiber, EFM services are ideal for customers who need between 2 Mbps and 20 Mbps symmetric service.

As a technology bridge to fiber, Updata foresees strong EFM demand in its business for the next five years. Updata provisions fiber and ADSL2+ services in addition to EFM.
“Updata has experienced explosive growth, doubling its revenues over last year with EFM being core to its business,” said Mike Scheck, Zhone’s VP of International Sales.

“For an unbundled local loop carrier, Zhone equipment provides numerous advantages ranging from multi-vendor interoperability, to superior port density.”


“Our experience with Zhone’s EFM platforms has been extremely positive and we’ve found the solutions easy to support, configure and manage,” said George Cowan, Head of Operations for Updata. “Our customers benefit from the savings innate to EFM technology, compounded by the sizeable savings in deployment and ongoing management costs associated specifically with Zhone equipment.”

Zhone's EFM EtherXtendTM product portfolio is the largest in the industry, offering feature and interface combinations to suit the full spectrum of customer requirements, from low-cost plug-and-play bridges for mass deployments, to sophisticated service intelligence for carrier and wholesale Service Level Agreements (SLAs).

Zhone’s EtherXtend line, together with Zhone’s multi-service access platforms (MSAPs) and SLMS system software provides network operators enhanced network agility and fast efficient provisioning of feature-rich network services.

About Updata Updata creates, implements and manages secure, cost-effective high-capacity broadband networks for public sector organizations. Updata’s highly skilled network architects have deep experience in all major physical network layers and data transmission mediums. Updata networks are designed and delivered with precision and managed to exacting standards. Updata Infrastructure UK Ltd. was incorporated in 2001. Updata is privately owned with headquarters based in Reigate, UK.

About Zhone Technologies — Access for a Converging World Zhone Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: ZHNE) is a global leader in multi-service access solutions, serving more than 700 of the world's most innovative network operators.

The company offers the industry's only fully-integrated portfolio of MSAP, FTTx, EFM and Wi-Fi access technologies, improving network agility and reducing the costs of delivering the full spectrum of access services, including residential and business broadband, VoIP, and High-Definition IPTV — over copper, fiber, and wireless.
Zhone is headquartered in California, and its MSAP products are all manufactured in the USA, in a facility that is emission, waste-water, and CFC free.





StimulatingBroadband.com

Monday, November 30, 2009

Deja Vu All Over Again: Federal Broadband Stimulus Public Comment Site Generates Delays & Faulty Postings

StimulatingBroadband.com 11/30/09 Boston - The federal online site supporting the filing of public comments for a potential revamp of the rules for the Recovery Act's broadband stimulus program has generated delays and garbled filings throughout today, the deadline for comment period opened on November 16.

Earlier this evening, StimulatingBroadband.com inquired of the lead media relations personnel at the two agencies managing the program as to the apparent faults being generated by the electronic filing system. As of this posting, the federal employees are still working to answer our questions. We will issue updates as we receive public and attributable information from our agency contacts.

As the public comment deadline of 5:00 PM (ET) today drew closer this afternoon the site hosting the filing of comments became delayed it its posting of ingoing comments for periods ranging from 20 to 45 minutes. Following approximately 4:15 PM, delays ranged from 1 hour to 5 hours, growing longer into the late afternoon and evening.

Given that under the published rules for the comment cycle today at 5:00 PM was a 'hard deadline' after which late filed comments may be rejected, the delay becomes an important consideration in terms of how it is regarded by the agency managing the comment receipt and posting processes.

Additionally, and significantly for the hundreds of individuals, firms, service providers, civic organizations, and state and local governmental agencies attempting to issue comments, as many as half of the comments posted in any given group of filings appear to be garbled and illegible.

For observers of, and participants in, the broadband stimulus program, today's systemic faults are more than a bit of
déjà vu all over again. The public comment system which accepted the first round of comments, with a deadline of April 13, similarly caused delays, and generated some allegations that comments were labeled 'late filed' by NTIA as a result of the system's inability to process comments in a timely manner.

More infamously, the online system operated by a private contractor which hosted the filings of funding Round I applications broke down several times during August. The filing deadline was extended multiple times, to the angst of both applicants and agency chiefs testifying to congressional oversight committees, as a result.


The site in use currently is maintained by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) jointly on behalf of its Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) and its sister agency, the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The two agencies are charged by Congress, in the Recovery Act, with managing the $7.2 billion broadband stimulus program. StimulatingBroadband.com

Saturday, November 28, 2009

William J. Bresnan, Cable Industry Pioneer, Dies at 75

StimulatingBroadband.com 11/28/09 Boston - Cable television industry pioneer William J. Bresnan died Friday, November 27th, at his home in Greenwich, CT from complications of cancer.

Mr. Bresnan's death was announced today by Bresnan Communications, the privately held cable multiple system operator (MSO) headquartered in Purchase, NY which he founded in 1984 and served as Chairman of until his death. His 50-year career in the industry began as an engineer in the earliest days of the business and led first to leadership posts in some of the industry’s largest cable companies and ultimately to the founding of his own company.

Mr. Bresnan was predeceased by his wife of 43 years, Barbara Boettcher Bresnan, with whom he had six children. He is survived by his current wife Ann Lessing Bresnan, her five children, his six children, 11 grandchildren and a brother and sister.

Born in Mankato, MN, Mr. Bresnan designed and built his first cable system in nearby Rochester, MN at the age of 25. When that system was acquired by West Coast entrepreneur Jack Kent Cooke in 1965, he joined the Cooke executive team. Cooke’s holdings ultimately were merged with TelePrompTer Corporation, at that time the nation’s largest cable operating company. Mr. Bresnan served as President of TelePrompTer’s Cable Television Division from 1974 to 1981, at which time Westinghouse Electric purchased TelePrompTer and Mr. Bresnan became Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the new company, Group W Cable.

He left that post in 1984 to found Bresnan Communications, which first operated cable systems in Michigan's Upper Peninsular, and then expanded with systems in Georgia, Minnesota, Mississippi, and Wisconsin. Bresnan International Partners, launched in 1994, operated systems in Chile and Poland. Mr. Bresnan’s operational signature was to be a provider of advanced telecom services to small and mid-sized communities.

In commenting on Mr. Bresnan’s passing, Jeffrey S. DeMond, Chief Executive Officer of Bresnan Communications, said, “Bill Bresnan hired good, smart people and led by example. He gave us the mission to succeed not just by doing things right but by doing the right thing as well, and each of our lives is richer for having learned from him. His final lesson to all of us was his valiant battle against cancer, fought fiercely and with never a complaint.”

Kyle McSlarrow, President & CEO, of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) said upon hearing of Mr. Bresnan’s passing “This is an irreplaceable and heartbreaking loss. Bill Bresnan was one of our industry’s titans – an industry pioneer, visionary entrepreneur, and technology leader who built companies that always put employees and customers first.”

Throughout his career Mr. Bresnan was deeply involved with all of the major industry associations, serving on numerous Boards of Directors. He often testified on the industry’s behalf before the FCC and U.S. Congressional committees on a wide range of legislative and regulatory issues. Long cited as one of the industry’s leading champions of technological advancement, Mr. Bresnan played a key role in the development of the first domestic satellite transmission for cable as well as the implementation of the country’s first commercial fiber optic communications system.

He was the recipient of virtually every award and recognition within the cable industry,
and was inducted into both the Cable Television Hall of Fame and the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame.

A memorial service will be held at St. Mary’s Church at 178 Greenwich Ave. in Greenwich, CT on Wednesday, December 2nd at 11 am. The wake will be held Monday, November 30th and Tuesday, December 1st between 4 pm and 8 pm at the Leo P. Gallagher & Sons funeral home at 31 Arch Street also in Greenwich. StimulatingBroadband.com

Friday, November 27, 2009

Breaking News: FCC Responds to Proprietary Data Request from NTIA for Broadband Stimulus Program

Incumbents Have Until December 7 to Tell FCC Why Data Should Not Be Released to Federal Agency

(Editor's Note: This story was first published at 11:32 AM, today. It was updated with 3 items in the Updates section, and with greater detail on the FCC Form 477, at 10:00 PM.)

StimulatingBroadband.com 11/27/09 Boston
- The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has opened a public proceeding which responds to a request for proprietary broadband commercial information made by one of the two federal agencies managing the Obama Administration's $7.2 billion broadband stimulus program mandated by the Recovery Act.

The proceeding, and the information request which triggered it, both go to the heart of the intense debate within the U.S. telecommunications industry over the definitions of areas of the nation which are "unserved" and "underserved" by broadband networks.

The proceeding was engendered by the issuance of a letter, dated November 23, to Ms. Sharon E. Gillett, Chief of the FCC's Wireline Competition Bureau (WCB), from Mr. Anthony G. Wilhelm, Director of the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) of the U.S. Department of Commerce. NTIA, together with the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, are the two agencies which jointly administer the broadband stimulus program.

FCC Form 477: Key to Unserved & Underserved Data Smackdown?
In specific, Mr. Wilhelm requested access to the FCC's entire current national database of so-called Form 477 data. As the FCC's Public Notice states, "The Commission collects information about broadband connections to end user locations, wired and wireless local telephone services, and interconnected Voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) services in individual states on FCC Form 477."

Service providers are required to disclose on the Form 477 where they operate broadband facilities. The aggregate of such data, retained by the WCB, could thus become a key element in validating the claims of broadband stimulus fund applicants as to "unserved" and "underserved" areas of the U.S. Under the provisions of the federal Recovery Act, and of the rules established for the current Round I of the program, broadband stimulus funds are targeted at "unserved" and "underserved" areas.

Given the long and successful effort by incumbent carriers to keep information about where their broadband facilities are deployed, and what subscriber "take rates" are for specific services at very localized levels, defining what areas are "served, unserved, and underserved" is especially difficult to determine.

The Wilhelm letter (cited as the NTIA Request Letter in the Public Notice), as directly quoted in the FCC Public Notice, states that NTIA "intends to use this data to help validate the served or underserved classifications of the BTOP applicants' proposed funded service areas."

Significantly, we think the reason for the issuance of the letter at this juncture, well into funding Round I of the broadband stimulus program, is referenced (emphasis ours) in the opening line of the Commission's Public Notice. As the document states, "The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) is evaluating applications and comments to the applications that it has received from broadband service providers in its administration of the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP)."

Incumbent service providers were allowed to issue Public Notice Filings stating that they operate broadband networks in "proposed service areas" in which funding applicants seek to build new networks with broadband stimulus funds. Thus, NTIA is now in the position of having to judge the claims and counter claims of applicants vs. incumbents in literally thousands of individual communities around the nation. Of threshold importance to the validity of those claims and counter claims is the underlying veracity of the "served, unserved, or undeserved" status of given locations.

In the NTIA Request Letter in the Public Notice, Director Wilhelm further stated the obligation of his agency to keep confidential data, derived from the the carriers and other service providers reporting information via their Form 477 filings, at NTIA on a continuing confidential nondisclosure basis.

Public Comment Deadline of December 7
In the Public Notice, below, issued on Wednesday, November 25, the WCB opened a public comment period with a deadline of December 7. During the comment period, incumbent communications service providers have the right to argue that all or some of their submitted "confidential and proprietary information" should not be subject to disclosure to NTIA, under either continuing nondisclosure or otherwise.

Updates:
1.
StimulatingBroadband.com has requested a copy of the NTIA Request Letter of 11/23/09 from the 2 relevant agencies (FCC and NTIA). We will post same as soon as we receive it from either of the agencies. As of 9:30 PM we have not received the document, and now project we will go through the weekend without receiving the document for publication here, or seeing same posted on a federal site.

2. Mr. Mark Wigfield, of the media relations section of FCC-WCB informed us by email this afternoon that the Wilhelm request letter is not in the FCC "docket yet, but should be by next week."

3. To better facilitate tracking of the docket, via the FCC's electronic filing system, Mr. Wigfield kindly notes the "docket number in the footnote (footnote 1 of the Public Notice) is in error", the
NTIA Request Letter and all other docket items "should be searched under docket number 09-214." The WCB spokesperson stated that the error will be corrected.

Resources:
Our deep content resources at
StimulatingBroadband.com on Scribd are being updated with background documents from agencies and the industry to assist our readers in understanding this developing issue.
FCC Public Notice in DA-09-2502A1 - Notice of Request for FCC Form 477 Data by NTIA Released: 11-25-2009

Monday, November 23, 2009

Stimulating Global Broadband: ARRIS Rolls Out DOCSIS® 3.0 Broadband Access Across the Czech Republic

ARRIS Enables Czech Republic To Beat U.S. Wideband Penetration With National DOCSIS 3.0 Launch
StimulatingBroadband.com 11/23/09 Boston
- Proving the ongoing strength of the innovation-enabled American telecom equipment sector, ARRIS Group Inc. (NASDAQ: ARRS) today announced that it has deployed its DOCSIS 3.0 C4® CMTS via 4 multiple system cable operators (MSOs) across the Czech Republic.

Given the footprint of its in-country cable operator customers, the firm estimates that a full "..93% of the Czech Republic’s 1.2 million homes passed by cable are served" by the firm's wideband technology, according to a company press release of earlier today.

This national wideband penetration figure is particularly significant as most current analysis of the U.S. broadband market sees American operators reaching 100% of cable homes passed with DOCSIS 3.0 no sooner than 4 to 5 years from now. For example, a March 2009 report issued by Pike & Fischer covering only the U.S. domestic market projects "...
that the top cable operators will have DOCSIS 3.0 covering 100% of homes passed by the end of 2013."

Working with its Czech value added reseller (VAR), LICA s.r.o., the Suwanee, GA based broadband gear maker is rolling-out the DOCSIS 3.0 wideband service through operators Elsat s.r.o., BKS Capital Partners, Self Servis, and Kabelova Televize Koprivnice.

The ARRIS DOCSIS 3.0 CMTS solution consists of the C4 CMTS and WBM760B wideband modems, capable of delivering very high speed data service. The technology is based on the DOCSIS 3.0 standard that supports both Upstream and Downstream channel bonding capabilities.
“We are most pleased to be able to provide our Czech Republic customers with the most reliable CMTS solution for their growing subscriber needs,” said ARRIS SVP EMEA Sales Claudio Cerioli. “European cable subscribers have come to expect the highest quality Internet experience and the ARRIS C4 CMTS has the availability, density and reliability that delivers.” 



Made In America: Infinera ATN Gains RUS Listing for Deployment Under Federal Rural Telecom Program

The Ongoing Value of RUS 'Made In America' Certification
StimulatingBroadband.com 11/23/09 Boston -
Infinera Corporation (NASDAQ: INFN), the digital optical network equipment maker based in Sunnyvale, CA, announced last week that its ATN metro edge platform has been certified by the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture as suitable for deployment under the telecom programs of RUS.


The RUS listing will enable telecom service providers building rural networks under the RUS program to take advantage of the simplicity, flexibility, and ease of operations of Infinera’s new ATN metro edge platform, according to the company's press release of November 20. The USDA’s Rural Development Telecommunications program provides loans and grants to support the extension of broadband networks into rural areas and to support distance learning and telemedicine initiatives.

“RUS listing is an important milestone for the ATN, as it will make it easier for small, rural telecom companies and other broadband consortia to deploy the ATN and take advantage of its powerful advantages in speed, simplicity, and flexibility,” stated Paul Morkel, Infinera Director of Product Applications in the release.

RUS Made in America Advantage: Value to Gear Makers
As readers of Stimulatingbroadband.com well know, the ability of RUS to promote broadband networks was expanded greatly this year by President Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), which appropriated $2.5 billion to the RUS, out of a total broadband stimulus budget of $7.2 billion.

As we have previously reported, because of the congressional mandate given to the RUS legacy rural telecom programs first inaugurated in 1949, RUS has used this baseline appropriation in ARRA to leverage what agency managers believe will be a total program spend of $7 billion - $9 billion. The first effort by RUS to certificate U.S. manufactured equipment for use in its rural telephony program was launched in 1953, and branded Made in America at the time.

Currently, under the rules of the broadband stimulus program, issued officially on July 9, for the Round I funding cycle, neither RUS nor its sister agency, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) of the Department of Commerce, grant any competitive points or other incentives to service providers using equipment from manufacturers that are certificated under the RUS Made in America program.

Although USDA officials have continued to state they welcome the use of such RUS-accepted gear by applicants for funding, and despite the strong calls by organized labor to strictly enforce the Buy America provisions of ARRA, those provisions were waived for most categories of telecom equipment in Round I.

American network equipment makers that have appreciable levels of foreign content in their global supply chains exerted intense lobbying pressure on the Obama Administration against strict domestic content rules for the broadband programs under ARRA. Leading gear maker Cisco Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO) was in the forefront of the successful effort which resulted in the issuance of Buy America waivers by the Secretaries of Agriculture and Commerce in July of this year.

No allowance has been made to proactively favor certificated manufacturers that have their equipment included in bills of materials within provider's applications submitted for ARRA funding.

Even if the rules now being worked on by NTIA and RUS for the second and final funding round of
the "broadband stim" program are not amended to give such incentives, the Telecommunications Programs of the Rural Development section of USDA will continue in the years ahead with funding under the various Farm Bills voted Congress.

Thus, wireline and wireless and wireline equipment makers that are RUS certified will continue to
gain competitive advantage in the rural provider market sector.

Gear makers that have announced RUS certification in recent months for specific products and product lines include: ADC Telecommunications, Inc. (NASDAQ: ADCT),
Alloptic, Alvarion, Ltd. (NASDAQ: ALVR), Aurora Networks, Axxcelera Broadband Wireless, Harris Stratex (NASDAQ: HSTX), Meraki Inc., Telco Systems, and Zhone Technologies (NASDAQ: ZHNE).

ATN Metro Edge Platform
The Infinera ATN metro edge platform is a compact, scalable metro edge platform offering flexible configurations to simplify and accelerate network deployment. The ATN has been designed to offer best-in-class density and power consumption, and to support all metro transport services, including Ethernet, SAN, SONET/SDH, OTN and video services.

Seamless integration with the Infinera DTN platform enables an end-to-end Infinera network to deliver ease of operation, capital expenditure savings, integrated bandwidth management, and the power of a single network management system.
Infinera is supporting customers nationwide who have applied for grants to build broadband networks to unserved and underserved communities, including anchor institutions such as schools, higher education, and health care facilities.

Infinera networks provide a scalable, cost-effective middle-mile solution with low-cost, simple operations ideal for the new wave of broadband networks. The new Infinera ATN has been purchased by large and small service providers in the US and overseas. Last month, Deltacom announced it had deployed the ATN in several metro markets in the southeastern U.S.

The Infinera DTN, the company's optical system for long-haul and metro core networks, was approved for RUS listing in February 2009.

The Infinera family of optical solutions includes the Infinera DTN, the first optical system based on large-scale photonic integrated circuits, and the Infinera ATN, a compact metro edge platform that extends Infinera’s Digital Optical Networks to the metro edge.
StimulatingBroadband.com

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Rural Utilities Service of USDA Issues Third Broadband Stimulus Report to Congress

Why It Matters that RUS Issues Separate Reports to Congress, Distinct from NTIA Reporting

StimulatingBroadband.com 11/18/09 Boston
- As required by provisions of the federal Recovery Act, the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) yesterday issued to Congress its third quarterly report on its conduct of the Act's broadband stimulus program.

StimulatingBroadband.com obtained a copy of the report this afternoon from an authorized representative of RUS, published below.

NTIA and RUS: Separate Reports
Each quarter, the two separate agencies which administer the broadband stimulus program, funded with $7.2 billion in appropriations under the Recovery Act, file separate reports to Congress about the program.

Two days ago, on November 16, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) issued its own quarterly report to Congress on its Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP). Yesterday, RUS issued its report on the Broadband Initiatives Program (BIP) which it administers.

Although their respective administrators, Jonathan Adelstein at RUS and Larry Strickling at NTIA, have appeared jointly at each congressional oversight hearing (following appointment delays for each) held on the program, they are running separate and legally distinct elements of the effort. Congress funded the NTIA and RUS portions of the program with separate appropriations, and charged each with distinct missions.

In the flurry of activity around broadband funding and telecom regulatory issues in Washington, it is often difficult to keep all of the moving pieces straight. At least one national trade publication today referred to the the BTOP report as a "joint report" authored by both agencies. That is incorrect information. It is an easy mistake to make. Such a mistake nonetheless obscures a true understanding of the often strained relationship between NTIA and RUS, and makes more difficult a strategic understanding of the possible future of the program in funding Round II.

Separate Agencies, Separate Reports: Why Does It Matter?
Why does this issue of separate agencies and separate reports to Congress matter?

It is is important to understand the separate programmatic elements of the broadband stimulus initiative because there are financial, regulatory, and going forward strategies that are distinct to two programs. Those distinct programs are managed by organizations that have very different histories and skill sets.

As we documented throughout the spring of this year, it was not at all a foregone conclusion that there would be one jointly issued set of rules (called a Notice of Funds Availability, or NOFA) for funding Round I. We were the first online service to talk about a "consolidated NOFA" during that time. We followed the twists and turns of the inter-agency decision making, and identified the entrance into the process of policy makers from the Administration who directed the unified NOFA.

It was that effort by personnel from the Executive Office of the President (EOP) that generated the single document of funding rules on July 1 (with the official Federal Register version following on July 9). We call that single set of issued rules NOFA-1, a document still in force as funding Round I moves ahead.

Why Does It Really Matter?
Neither administrator, Adelstein nor Strickling, have mentioned it in any of their seemingly continuous testimony in congressional oversight hearings, but there remains considerable tension between the line managers at the two agencies. That tension is both indicative of the two fully distinct organizations at the agencies, and of the different approaches to the program ahead under funding Round II.

RUS has a national staff of full time employees in Washington, and in regional and state field offices nationwide who administer legacy grant and loan programs. Those programs have their origin in the presidency of Franklin Roosevelt. NTIA has no such widely decentralized staff, nor programmatic capacity. It has not run a national grant program approaching the scale and scope of BTOP since the defunding of the much smaller Technology Opportunities Program (TOP) during the administration of George W. Bush.

Significantly, what RUS has -- and has had for rural telecom projects since 1949 - is congressional authority to issue loans. As seen in the recovery Act, NTIA is authorized to issue only grants under BTOP. RUS, via BIP, has authority to issue grants, loans, and grant - loan combinations. Congress assigned the loan responsibilities of broadband stimulus solely to RUS given its decades of experience in writing and administering literally billions of dollars in infrastructure loans.

For these reasons of differing program capacity, institutional experience, and project financing, there is today the strong chance that the two programs may be administered with a much greater degree of separation under the Round II funding round.

Yes, we understand that the 2 agencies are now managing a joint public comment cycle intended to frame the rules for Round II. We get that. Both administrators have explicitly and repeatedly talked of continued close cooperation. They are being honest and straight forward, but there are differences between the agencies that even the best managers can not fully overcome.

From our discussions with line and policy mangers in the agencies, we now believe it is a sure bet the BIP and BTOP programs will be managed in Round II with greater independence of each other. We believe this will be the case, even if the the concept of a second joint agency NOFA remains in force.

Stay tuned.

NTIA Document Release
NTIA's separate Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) Quarterly Program Status Report, issued on November 16, is available here. The document has been widely reported on and circulated on a variety of sites.

RUS Document Release
As we have before, we thank the hard working folks at RUS who, like their colleagues at NTIA, continue to do yeoman's duty under very difficult circumstances as the broadband stimulus program is rolled-out across the nation. We appreciate the effort to release the document to us, and expect the report will be posted soon on a federal site.

We have published the document at our deep content site StimulatingBroadband on Scribd, and make it available, here:


Broadband Stimulus Program Quarterly Report to Congress 3 - BIP Quarterly Report 3 Issued 11-17-2009

StimulatingBroadband.com
Web Analytics