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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Utah Broadband Stimulus: Gov. Herbert Recommends UTOPIA & 9 Other Applicants for Federal Broadband Funds

UTOPIA, 4 Native American Projects, and Utah Education Network (UEN) Included in $174 Million in Estimated Total Recommendations



StimulatingBroadband.com 11/04/09 Boston
- The Office of Utah Governor Gary R. Herbert (R-UT) has recommended 19 projects to Washington for funding under the first round of the federal broadband stimulus program, a part of President Obama's Recovery Act of 2009. The 19 recommendations for networking projects were awarded to 10 separate organizations.



If funded by one of the two federal agencies managing the $7.2 billion
"broadband stim" program, Utah will see a total of about $208 million in new telecommunications infrastructure invested in one of the most rural states in the nation. These estimates are based on an analysis of the state's filing conducted by a Boston-based telecommunications consulting firm affiliated with StimulatingBroadband.com.



On October 14, Governor Herbert's lead manager for Utah's Recovery effort, State Planning Coordinator Mr. Michael Mower, communicated to U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke the state's recommendations. In a 1-page cover letter, and in 10 individual letters recommending the specific project applications (see: Resources, below), Coordinator Mower recommended the 19 in-state projects from among the 78 total eligible projects which he was permitted to comment on under federal funding regulations.



We believe the kind effort by Mr. Mower and his staff to release to this publication on 11/03 the recommendation documentation marks the first public review of the Herbert Administration's funding priorities communicated to the Commerce Department.




The 10 applicants for the 19 recommended projects requested a total of an estimated $174 million in federal funding targeted at Utah, while they also proposed to contribute an estimated $34 million in their own funds. These estimates conducted by PrattNetworks LLC generated the $208 figure based on the maximum local 'funding match' requirements of the federal programs, and a 'state split' of the 4 Native American networking projects that proposed multi-state investments.



As seen in the listing below, 11 of the recommended projects propose to build "broadband infrastructure" to areas of Utah which are presently "unserved" and/or "underserved" by broadband communications networks, as those terms are defined in regulations of the federal program. Another 6 projects seek funds under the federal Sustainable Broadband Adoption tranche of funds within the broadband stimulus program, while another 2 projects seek funding from the Public Computer Center project funds within the program.



UTOPIA: Utah's Contribution to Municipal Open Access Networking

Most well known nationally of the 10 project applicants recommended to Secretary Locke is the Utah Telecommunications Open Infrastructure Agency (UTOPIA), one of the most well regarded mutli-municipal open access high capacity networks in the country. The organization, comprised of 16 municipalities filed 3 applications totaling a request for
$57 million in federal dollars.



We spoke with Mr. Todd W. Marriott, Executive Director of UTOPIA who expressed his organization's gratitude to Governor Herbert, and gave us his background and view of the pioneering approach taken by his organization:



"The Utah Telecommunications Open Infrastructure Agency (UTOPIA) is a group of 16 Utah cities that maintains a rich history of fiber-to-the-premise broadband deployment. UTOPIA is an inter-local, municipally owned organization that brings needed fiber infrastructure to residential and business users in UTOPIA communities," said director Marriott.



"UTOPIA is the predominate 'open access' municipal system in the nation. UTOPIA’s model promotes innovation, offers consumers the freedom to choose from among a variety of service providers on their dedicated fiber connection, and allows consumers to have access to the quality-of-life enhancements that are increasingly possible over 'big-pipe', fiber-optic networks.



"These 16 Utah cities see a fiber-optic network as critical infrastructure, especially as they plan for the future of their communities. The cities of UTOPIA appreciate Governor Herbert’s letter of support. He is clearly interested in meeting Utah’s broadband infrastructure needs," concluded Mr. Marriott.



Native American Telecom: 4 Navajo Projects Recommended

Reflecting both the vastness of the Navajo Nation in the Southwest, and the promise of greater federal funding for needed infrastructure on Native American lands under the Obama Administration, Governor Herbert recommended 4 projects proposed for tribal lands in the state.



Two Native American owned entities, the Navajo Nation ISP/Action INTELEX service provider, and the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority are proposing interstate projects to finally deliver broadband to the sprawling 27,000 square mile Navajo Nation.



Thomas Gregory, CEO of service provider Navajo Nation ISP/Action INTELEX, which is partnered for backhaul services with satellite carrier Skycasters, LLC, gave us his perspective on the recommendation by the Governor's office, and on his firm's offering targeted to the needs of the largest tribal territory in the lower 48 states:



"As a Native owned and operated ISP there are numerous challenges to say the least. The Navajo Nation ISP/Action INTELEX is extremely pleased the Governor of Utah has recommended our plan to the NTIA. Our solution is beautiful in its simplicity. We erect a WiMAX tower at the 110 Anchor institutions (Chapter Houses,) hook up the satellite backhaul, attach an antenna and modem in the homes of end users, we are done," stated Gregory.



"We also are providing free broadband access at each Chapter house on 10 computers for the community center piece. As far as sustainability we have very detailed conservative adoption scale for each of our areas of operation. We will create over 200 Jobs as a direct result of our project, and the best piece is, as fiber reaches the outlying areas (5-7 yrs est) broadband fiber providers can hook up to our last mile Wi-Max and connect to existing users and our satellite backhaul then becomes a redundant piece if the fiber fails. Everybody wins. Its cost effective, timely, sustainable and meets the intent of the federal initiatives, while bringing service to the most unserved and underserved areas in the United States -- the 27,000 square mile Navajo Nation," concluded Mr. Gregory.




Recommended Project Listing & Links to Federal Summaries

A listing of the projects recommended by the Herbert Administration, with links to the funding applications filed with the federal agencies administering the program is below:



1. University of Utah

2 Projects



Project Title: Utah Anchors: A Community Broadband Project

(Broadband Infrastructure, Middle Mile Project)

Grant Request: $13.861 million

Executive Summary: (.PDF)

The project expands the Utah Education Network (UEN), the state's research and education network (REN) to support another 130 community anchor institutions.



Project Title: Utah Education Network COST Project for Sustainable Broadband Adoption

(Sustainable Broadband Adoption Project)

Grant request: $ 2.447 million

Executive Summary: (.PDF)

The project aims to increase broadband-enabled learning for the state's K-12 population via "compelling content, outreach, and training..".



2. Utah Telecommunications Open Infrastructure Agency (UTOPIA)

3 Projects



Project Title: UTOPIA OSPN FTTP LM

(Broadband Infrastructure, Last Mile)

Grant request: $ 33.716 million

"Here UTOPIA will expand LM infrastructure into West Valley, Midvale, Murray, and Layton. 16 cities founded UTOPIA, their emissary and State agency designed to receive Utah's BTOP stimulus funds."



Project Title: UTOPIA OSPN FTTP SBA

(Sustainable Broadband Adoption)

Grant request: $ 10.500 million

"Here Special Assessment Areas (SAA) triple the requested federal investment while executing community fiber awareness campaigns. 16 cities founded UTOPIA, the agency designed to receive Utah's BTOP stimulus funds."



Project Title: UTOPIA OSPN FTTP MM

(Broadband Infrastructure, Middle Mile Project)

Grant request: $ 13.126 million

"MM will build backbone distribution rings in Layton, Midvale/Murray, West Valley, Orem and Centerville. 16 cities founded UTOPIA, the State agency designed to receive Utah's BTOP stimulus funds."



3. Utah Transit Agency

1 Project



Project Title: Wireless Broadband

(Sustainable Broadband Adoption)

Grant request: $ 1.950 million

Executive Summary: (.PDF)

"Purchase and install an interoperable broadband wireless system for commuter rail between Salt Lake and Provo, Utah and potential light light rail lines. This infrastructure would integrate with existing wireless broadband for a seamless user experience."



4. Emery Telecom

3 Projects



Project Title: Blanding and Monticello Utah FTTP

(Broadband Infrastructure, Middle Mile)

Grant request: $ 2.229 million

Loan request: $ 1.337 million

"Backhaul will use a 10gbs MPLS IP core into WesternFiberNet's Utah statewide network. The fiber local loop will be provided by upgrading ETV's existing CATV infrastructure to FTTP. Because of the extensive project, a hybrid HFC plant will be deployed as a interim step. The proposed solution will be active ethernet. Electronics will use a dedicated port with up to 1gb bandwidth to end locations."



Project Title: Moab, Utah FTTP

(Broadband Infrastructure, Last Mile Remote Area)

Grant request: $ 3.613 million

Loan request: $ 2.168 million

"Backhaul will use a 10gbs MPLS IP core into WesternFiberNet's Utah statewide network. The fiber local loop will be provided by upgrading ETV's existing CATV infrastructure to FTTP. The proposed solution will be active ethernet. Electronics will use a dedicated port with up to 1gb bandwidth to end locations."





Project Title: Emery and Carbon County, Utah Broadband

(Broadband Infrastructure, Last Mile Remote)

Grant request: $ 487,925

Loan request: $ 292,755

"Project will consist of isolated areas in Carbon and Emery counties...."



5. Satview Broadband Ltd

1 Project



Project Title: Utah Rural Broadband

(Sustainable Broadband Adoption)

Grant request: $ 133,310

Loan request: $ 51,100

" This project will enable customers in the rural, remote, areas of Delta and Fillmore, UT. Currently, these areas don't have access to affordable high speed broadband. With the availability of affordable broadband residents will be able to conduct business, educate themselves and generally improve their lives."



6. Navajo Nation ISP Action INTELEX

3 Projects



Project Title: Navajo Nation ISP Last Mile

(Broadband Infrastructure, Last Mile Remote)

Grant request: $ 21.142 million

Executive Summary: (.PDF)

"WIMAX Broadband brought to the unserved and underserved on the Navajo Reservation in the states of MN, AZ, and UT."




Project Title: Navajo Nation Action INTELEX Middle Mile

(Broadband Infrastructure, Middle Mile)

Grant request: $ 2.825 million

Executive Summary: (.PDF)



Project Title: Navajo Nation Chapter House

(Public Computer Center Project)

Grant request: $ 21.100 million

Executive Summary: (.PDF)




7. Navajo Tribal Utility Authority

1 Project



Project Title: Navajo Nation Middle/Last Mile Project: Quality Broadband for the Navajo People

(Broadband Infrastructure, Middle Mile)

Grant request: $ 17.244 million

Loan request: $ 17.244 million

Executive Summary: (.PDF)

"The Navajo Tribal Utility Authority & Commnet Wireless propose a middle-mile fiber optic backbone with a microwave backup and interconnection to a POP in Albuquerque, NM, in conjunction with a wireless last-mile component which will ensure the benefits are promptly delivered to a population in dire need of these services in underserved portions of the Navajo Nation in Arizona, Utah & New Mexico."



8. Dixie Technology Funding Agency

3 Projects



Project Title: Community Mobile SBA

(Sustainable Broadband Adoption)

Grant request: $ 1.680 million

"Training and access through Community Mobile: evolving real-time subnet IP Cloud; fast roaming 802.11a/b/g/n MIMO(multi-in-multi-out); millisecond handoff; Wi-fi capable, 300+ Mbps bidirectional (fiberless); IP Core VOIP/SIP support; seamless convergence to GSM/CDMA; Gbit backhaul; bridging rural communications to the world with Last-mile triple play."




Project Title: Community Mobile PCC

(Public Computer Center)

Grant request: $ 1.2 million

"Training and access through Community Mobile: evolving real-time subnet IP Cloud; fast roaming 802.11a/b/g/n MIMO(multi-in-multi-out); millisecond handoff; Wi-fi capable, 300+ Mbps bidirectional (fiberless); IP Core VOIP/SIP support; seamless convergence to GSM/CDMA; Gbit backhaul; bridging rural communications to the world with Last-mile triple play."



Project Title: Community Mobile BBI

(Broadband Infrastructure, last Mile Non-Remote)

Grant request: $ 8.823 million

"Training and access through Community Mobile: evolving real-time subnet IP Cloud; fast roaming 802.11a/b/g/n MIMO(multi-in-multi-out); millisecond handoff; Wi-fi capable, 300+ Mbps bidirectional (fiberless); IP Core VOIP/SIP support; seamless convergence to GSM/CDMA; Gbit backhaul; bridging rural communications to the world with Last-mile triple play."



9. Konvective, LLC

1 Project



Project Title: Broadband Without Borders

(Sustainable Broadband Adoption)

Grant request: $ 2.750 million

Executive Summary: (.PDF)




10. Rural Communities United

1 Project



Project Title: Rural Washington County, Utah High-Speed Broadband Initiative

(Broadband Infrastructure, Last Mile Remote)

Grant request: $ 24.669 million




Background on Broadband Stimulus

The federal broadband stimulus effort, using $7.2 billion in congressional appropriations, is part of the overall $787 billion stimulus package signed into law by President Obama on February 17. As mandated by Congress, the broadband undertaking is managed by 2 federal agencies, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) of the Commerce Department, and by the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).



Under federal rules, state governors had the ability to recommend only projects that applied for grant funding to NTIA, rather than for grant or loan funding from RUS.



Federal officials have estimated that the $7.2 billion in funding will actually result in $13 billion to $14 billion in total new broadband project funding, owing to the congressional authority retained by RUS to leverage its appropriations via its federally guarantied loan facility. As we reported in June, in anticipation of the policies that would frame the Obama Administration's broadband funding policies, RUS traces its knowledge of loan creation, regulatory structures, and involvement with American's rural economies back to the New Deal's Rural Electrification Act (REA). In 1949 Congress expanded USDA's traditional role in rural electrification to include rural telephone service, a move which ushered in the birth of rural telephone cooperatives.



Resources: StimulatingBroadband.com's State - NTIA Filings

1. The Utah filing (1 page cover letter, 10 individual letters), together with our compilation of recommendation documents from the other states which we have been able to collect, may be read and downloaded here (free registration), via our corporate site. As of this posting, we have uploaded 35 state reports.



2. Read all of our state filing stories here: Round I State Recommendations to NTIA.


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