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Thursday, August 27, 2009

NTIA - RUS: 2,200 Applications Filed for $28 billion in Broadband Stimulus Round I

NTIA-RUS Press Release via StimulatingBroadband.com 08/27/09 WASHINGTON -

Nearly 2,200 Diverse Applications Submitted for Share of $4 Billion in Funding to Expand Broadband Access and Adoption

The Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and the Department of Agriculture's Rural Utilities Service (RUS) announced today that they received almost 2,200 applications requesting nearly $28 billion in funding for proposed broadband projects reaching all 50 U.S. states and territories and the District of Columbia.

This is the first round of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding aimed at expanding broadband access and adoption to help bridge the technological divide and create jobs building Internet infrastructure, with $4 billion available through loans, grants, and loan/grant combinations.

The Recovery Act provided a total of $7.2 billion to NTIA and RUS to expand access to and adoption of broadband services. Of that funding, NTIA will utilize $4.7 billion to deploy broadband infrastructure in unserved and underserved areas in the United States, expand public computer center capacity, and encourage sustainable adoption of broadband service. RUS will invest $2.5 billion to facilitate broadband deployment in primarily rural communities. Approximately $2.4 billion from RUS and up to $1.6 billion from NTIA is available in this first grant round.

Applications came in from a diverse range of parties including state, local, and tribal governments; nonprofits; industry; anchor institutions, such as libraries, universities, community colleges, and hospitals; public safety organizations; and other entities in rural, suburban, and urban areas.

“Applicants requested nearly seven times the amount of funding available, which demonstrates the substantial interest in expanding broadband across the Nation," said Lawrence E. Strickling, Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information and Administrator of NTIA. "We will move quickly but carefully to fund the best projects to bring broadband and jobs to more Americans.”

"The overwhelming response we received underscores the extensive interest in expanding
broadband across the country. Rural communities clearly recognize that broadband can expand their economic opportunities and create jobs," said Jonathan Adelstein, Administrator, Rural Utilities Service, USDA.

"The Obama Administration’s goal is to target funds to serve areas of greatest need. The big demand for loans as well as grants demonstrates that we can leverage private investment with USDA's $2.5 billion to deliver the greatest bang for the taxpayers' buck."


A preliminary analysis of applicant-reported data shows that NTIA and RUS received requests for grants and loans totaling nearly $28 billion. When including about $10.5 billion in matching funds committed by the applicants, there are over $38 billion in proposed broadband projects.

The applications break down as follows:

Infrastructure
• More than 260 applications were filed solely with NTIA’s Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP), requesting over $5.4 billion in grants to fund broadband infrastructure projects in unserved and underserved areas.

• More than 400 applications were filed solely with RUS’s Broadband Initiatives Program (BIP), requesting nearly $5 billion in grants and loans for broadband infrastructure projects in rural areas.

• More than 830 applications were filed with both NTIA’s BTOP and RUS’s BIP, requesting nearly $12.8 billion in infrastructure funding. (Applicants for infrastructure projects in rural areas must apply to BIP but were given the opportunity to jointly apply to BTOP in case RUS declines to fund their application.)

Sustainable Broadband Adoption
• More than 320 applications were filed with NTIA requesting nearly $2.5 billion in grants from BTOP for projects that promote sustainable demand for broadband services, including projects to provide broadband education, awareness, training, access, equipment or support, particularly among vulnerable population groups where broadband technology has traditionally been underutilized. (The Recovery Act directs NTIA to make at least $250 million available for programs that encourage sustainable adoption of broadband services, of which up to $150 million is allocated in this first round of grants.)

Public Computer Centers
• More than 360 applications were filed with NTIA requesting more than $1.9 billion in grants from BTOP for public computer center projects, which will expand access to broadband service and enhance broadband capacity at public libraries, community colleges, and other institutions that provide the benefits of broadband to the general public or specific vulnerable populations. (The Recovery Act directs NTIA to make at least $200 million available for expanding public computer center capacity, of which up to $50 million is allocated in this first round of grants.)

Searchable Summary Database to be Posted
In the coming weeks, NTIA and RUS will post online a searchable database containing summaries of all applications received. The dollar figures cited today represent applicants’ self-reported totals from proposals submitted before the August 20, 2009, deadline at 5 p.m. ET.

These results are preliminary estimates, however, and may change as the applications are reviewed for errors, omissions, and duplications. StimulatingBroadband.com

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Senator Edward Moore Kennedy (August 22, 1932 - August 25, 2009)

StimulatingBroadband.com 09/26/09 Boston - We are sad beyond measure today in Massachusetts, and across the nation.

We were never so honored as when we carried your banner.

We will continue to do so, as best as we are able, always.







"For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die.
- Democratic National Convention, New York City, August 12, 1980

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Communications Workers of America: US Still Lags Other Nations in Internet Connection Speeds

Business Wire via StimulatingBroadband.com 08/25/09 WASHINGTON-- Positive economic impact of high-speed Internet unrealized by most of the country; National broadband plan due in 2010 is good step to reverse trend New research indicates that between 2007 and 2009, the average download Internet speed in the United States has increased by only 1.6 megabits per second (mbps), from 3.5 mbps in 2007 to 5.1 mbps in 2009.

At this rate, it will take the United States 15 years to catch up with current Internet speeds in South Korea, the country with the fastest average Internet connections.1 The Speed Matters Speed Test, a project of the Communications Workers of America (CWA), measures the speed of a user’s Internet connection.

The 2009 report is based on aggregated data from more than 413,000 Internet users who took the online test between May 2008 and May 2009. Take the Speed Test to see how your connection measures up, or view a full list of 2009 state rankings and a comparison to 2007 and 2008 averages at www.speedmatters.org.


The 2009 Speed Test shows that only 20 percent of those who took the test have Internet speeds in the range of the top ranked countries—including South Korea, Japan and Sweden. Even more alarming, 18 percent do not even meet the FCC definition for basic broadband as an always-on Internet connection of at least 768 kbps downstream. The data also confirms that where a customer lives is a good indicator of Internet connection speed.

Fastest / Slowest States
With some exceptions, if you live in a Northeastern or Mid-Atlantic state, you are likely to have good high-speed Internet options. The five fastest states are: Delaware (9.9 mbps), Rhode Island (9.8 mbps), New Jersey (8.9 mbps), Massachusetts (8.6 mbps) and New York (8.4 mbps).

However, if you live in a Southern or Western state, access to high-speed Internet is less likely. Mississippi (3.7 mbps), South Carolina (3.6 mbps), Arkansas (3.1 mbps), Idaho (2.6 mbps) and Alaska (2.3 mbps) have some of the slowest Internet connection speeds, according to the study.

Continued job growth, innovation and rural development require high-speed, universal networks. Data shows that for every $5 billion invested in broadband infrastructure to create these networks, 97,500 new jobs in the telecommunications, computer and IT sectors will be created.2

“Every American should have affordable access to high-speed Internet, no matter where they live. This is essential to economic growth and will help maintain our global competitiveness,” said Larry Cohen, president, Communications Workers of America. “Unfortunately, fragmented government programs and uneven private sector responses to build out Internet access have left a digital divide across the country.”

The United States is still the only industrialized country without a national policy to promote high-speed Internet access, but that is set to change. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that was signed into law earlier this year included a provision calling for a national broadband plan by spring 2010 and $7.2 billion in broadband grants for unserved and underserved areas.

CWA"s Broadband Policy Recommendations
CWA believes that in addition to needed infrastructure investment, a national plan to improve America’s Internet connections speeds should:


* Establish a national policy goal: A reasonable initial goal would be to construct an infrastructure with enough capacity for 10 megabits per second (mbps) downstream and 1 mbps upstream by 2010. New benchmarks in succeeding years should expand the number of households capable of sending and receiving multiple channel high-definition video and reach the global standard of 100 mbps.

* Encourage Public-Private Partnerships: Successful efforts—like ConnectOhio—to increase America’s Internet speeds and capacity are important. These kinds of efforts are well-suited to assess needs, create state broadband maps and technology plans and share knowledge about successful initiatives. If encouraged, they can help simulate high-speed broadband demand, deployment and adoption nationwide.

* Reform Universal Service: We need subsidies, low-interest loans, and tax incentives to support broadband deployment in high-cost rural areas, and help make computers and Internet access more affordable for low-income families.

* Monitor Progress: Broadband public policies should support the growth of good, career jobs as a key to providing quality Internet service and require public reporting of deployment, actual speed, price and customer service benchmarks.

“I applaud the Obama Administration and Congress for their commitment to develop a national plan that restores U.S. leadership in high-speed Internet policy,” said Cohen. “Improving broadband deployment, connection speeds, and adoption will help facilitate job and business growth. By continuing these efforts we can make sure that America benefits from the information age.”


1 International rankings of Internet connection speeds are from www.SpeedTest.net.

2 Estimate based on RIMS II Model, Bureau of Economic Analysis, U.S. Department of Commerce; represents the average of the multipliers for Construction and Broadcasting and Communications Equipment ($5 billion x 19.5/$1 million = 97,500 new jobs). BROLL FEEDS AT 1-1:15 pm ET and 4-4:15 pm ET: Galaxy: 19 Transponder: 13 DL/Frequency: 3960 Vertical C-Band Audio 6.2/6.8

About Speed Matters and the Speed Test
Launched in September 2006, Speed Matters is a project of the Communications Workers of America. CWA launched Speed Matters to bring attention to the issue of Internet connectivity and to encourage elected officials to implement policies that will guarantee every American access to all of the promises of the Information Age.

To report the real-time connection speed, the Speed Test sends an HTTP request to the nearest server and measures the time that it takes to receive a response. The test does not measure the actual transfer speed of a file over the Internet; uncontrolled variables, such as the content provider's server load and bandwidth, would interfere with accurate data collection. Information included in the report is based on data gathered from May 2008 to May 2009.


About the Communications Workers of America
The Communications Workers of America represents more than 700,000 workers employed in telecommunications, the media, public sector, manufacturing, health care and airlines.
StimulatingBroadband.com

Broadband Stimulus Round I Applicants: Gov Richardson Announces $180M in Grant Applications

Press Release from Office of Gov Richardson via StimulatingBroadband.com 08/25/09 SANTA FE – Governor Bill Richardson announced on Friday, August 21, that at least 13 telecommunications groups and government coalitions have applied for more than $180 million in federal stimulus funds to expand and improve broadband communication networks in New Mexico.

The New
Mexico Department of Information Technology and New Mexico Office of Recovery and Reinvestment led the coordinated effort.

“A faster, expanded b
roadband network that reaches across our state is vital to our future, which is why I made securing funds for broadband improvements in New Mexico a top priority for our stimulus team,” Governor Richardson said.

“With potential connections to public libraries, high
schools, state offices, colleges and universities, and tele-health sites, I’m confident broadband will create new prospects for businesses, expand learning opportunities for students and ensure better health care access for all residents. I’m pleased that we were able to turn in so many quality applications.”

The applications were filed with the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Commerce, which together intend to distribute $7.2 billion nationally to improve broadband networks. Applicants were required to offer broadband connections at speeds 15 to 50 times faster than dial-up.

“Over the past year the state has actively engaged the state’s telecommunications service providers, regional coalitions, government councils, educational institutions, technology partners, government departments and legislators in a statewide planning process for integrated, strategic broadband deployment,” Secretary Marlin Mackey of the Department of Information Technology said.

In addition to the private and public applications, the State of New Mexico has applied for a broadband mapping grant, which would identify statewide broadband capabilities, including technology, capacity, and speed.

Applicants include:

New Mexico Department of Information Technology

Baca Valley Telephone

Eastern New Mexico Rural Telephone Cooperative

• Fast Forward New Mexico
La Jicarita Rural Telephone Cooperative

Leaco

Navajo Tribal Utility Authority and Commnet
Penasco Valley Telephone
Plateau Telecommunications

Northern New Mexico Regional Economic Development Initiative

Sacred Wind

• Santa Fe Regional Telecommunications Coalition

US Cable
Western Telephone
StimulatingBroadband.com

Monday, August 24, 2009

Broadband Stimulus Round I Applicants: Alliance of 70 Hospitals Seeks Recovery Act Grant for Critical Links Project

National Medical Wireless Broadband Alliance Press Release via StimulatingBroadband.com 08/24/09 -WASHINGTON, DC -- The National Medical Wireless Broadband Alliance filed, on Thursday August 20, a Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) proposal for the Critical Links Project, an open access, middle mile infrastructure to bring broadband connectivity to 70 member hospitals in California, Arizona, Nevada and Hawaii.

The Alliance's members came together to solve an unmet need for technology neutral, open innovation platforms that enable any wireless device within each hospital to access existing wireless networks. The Critical Links Project is designed to fill this middle mile gap for hospitals, allowing wireless access at the point of care and bringing much-needed 21st century bandwidth, speed and interconnectivity to health IT systems.

To this end, the Alliance submitted a BTOP Broadband Infrastructure grant application to the Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). Under the Recovery Act, NTIA is administering a grant program to make $4.7 billion available to support deployment of broadband infrastructure in unserved and underserved areas and to encourage sustainable broadband adoption.

The Project seeks to meet high priority objectives of the Act by facilitating a modern technology infrastructure in the health care community, promoting job creation, meeting needs of underserved areas and improving access to, and use of, broadband service by public safety. Critical Links will improve patient care by deploying a unified in-building wireless network that extends each Member Hospital's information system and promoting development of innovative wireless medical applications.

"The drive behind the Critical Links Project is to provide our Member Hospitals with an open innovation platform that, by improving wireless broadband access, enhances health care delivery, fosters the use of advanced technology and empowers patients," said Alliance Chairman John Clarey.


The Critical Links Project's technology-neutral, open wireless infrastructure provides Member Hospitals with a much-needed middle mile link, facilitating life-saving and cost-saving wireless medical applications range from Electronic Health Records and Health Information Exchanges to telemedicine, wireless telemetry and billing systems, ePrescriptions, and wireless viewing of x-rays and MRIs.


"To use these health IT tools, many hospitals require but do not have a critical missing ingredient -- an open access, technology neutral middle mile link," said Alliance President Steve Solomon. "The Critical Links Project will have a multiplier effect, empowering patients through enhanced information, promoting telemedicine and creating a technology baseline to provide information needed by physicians for informed decisions in real-time."

Often in hospitals, closed wireless broadband systems are based on proprietary networks, meaning medical professionals without compatible devices are locked out of in-building networks, which operate at less than optimal speeds and have limited interconnectivity. In many health care facilities, there is a gap in wireless broadband adoption within hospitals and a lack of connectivity between hospitals.

The Critical Links Project offers a sustainable and scalable solution by installing technology-neutral, open "Distributed Antenna Systems" in each Member Hospital that provide unified in-building wireless connectivity. These systems provide multiple broadband links to outside networks through over-the-air signals.
StimulatingBroadband.com

Broadband Stimulus Round I Applicants: SkyTerra Confirms its filing on August 18, 2009, for broadband stimulus funds.

SkyTerra Press Release via StimulatingBroadband.com 08/24/09 Reston, Va. - SkyTerra today confirmed its filing on August 18, 2009, for broadband stimulus funds.

The filing by SkyTerra Safety Access LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of SkyTerra (OTCBB: SKYT) is with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) for stimulus funds under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

SkyTerra’s filing applied for funds from the NTIA’s Sustainable Adoption Program, part of the Broadband Technology Opportunities Stimulus Program, which seeks to provide funds that will increase broadband adoption in the United States. SkyTerra’s application will focus on increasing broadband adoption by the public safety community.

Included in the filing is a letter from Motorola, Inc. (NYSE:MOT) expressing support for broadband stimulus funding. As noted within Motorola's exparte comments filed with the FCC on August 5 regarding 700 MHz public safety broadband recommendations, the company supports the establishment of provisions for optional ancillary satellite use. SkyTerra’s proposal to develop dual mode broadband satellite and 700 MHz terrestrial devices for the public safety community potentially enables a significant acceleration of broadband device availability.

While Motorola is not acting as a co-applicant, and has not been selected as a vendor to SkyTerra, Motorola expressed support for stimulus funding for this strategic area in a letter submitted with the SkyTerra application. "Motorola believes such satellite access could be an important element to supplement terrestrial coverage, especially in rural areas where public safety broadband terrestrial build out may be less practical than in more populated areas," said Rick Neal, Motorola vice president of business development.

“We are pleased to have Motorola support this important initiative, designed to help the public safety community communicate effectively during times of crisis,” said Alexander H. Good, chief executive officer of SkyTerra.

For further information on the SkyTerra filing, please see the SkyTerra press release dated August 18, 2009.

SkyTerra Communications, Inc. (OTCBB: SKYT) owns 100% of SkyTerra LP. SkyTerra LP and SkyTerra (Canada), Inc. jointly operate the MSAT satellites and telecommunications network.


About SkyTerra Communications (www.skyterra.com)
SkyTerra Communications (OTCBB: SKYT) delivers mobile wireless voice and data services primarily for public safety, security, fleet management and asset tracking in the U.S. and Canada. The company’s next-generation integrated satellite-terrestrial communications network is expected to provide seamless, transparent and ubiquitous wireless coverage of the United States and Canada to conventional handsets. When completed, the network will support communications in a variety of market segments, including public safety, homeland security, aviation, transportation and entertainment, by providing a platform for interoperable, user-friendly and feature-rich voice and high-speed data services.

Statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act
This news release may contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act, with respect to plans described in this news release. Such statements generally include words such as could, can, anticipate, believe, expect, seek, pursue, proposed, potential and similar words. Such forward-looking statements are subject to uncertainties relating to the ability of SkyTerra and MSV to raise additional capital or consummate a strategic transaction or deploy the next generation system, as well as the ability of SkyTerra to execute its business plan. We assume no obligation to update or supplement such forward-looking statements.
Stimulatingbroadband.com

Broadband Stimulus Round I Applicants: Gov. Rendell Says PA Applies for $108 Million to Expand Broadband Infrastructure, Internet Access

PRNewswire via StimulatingBroadband.com 08/24/09 HARRISBURG, Pa. -- Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell today said the Commonwealth has applied for $108 million in federal funds to expand high-speed Internet service to people, institutions and communities throughout Pennsylvania -- an investment that will boost the state's economic development and education systems for years to come.

"Broadband Internet access is as crucial to competitiveness as are skilled workers, transportation, water and energy," Governor Rendell said. "You can't overstate its impact on public services, local economies and quality of life. These federal dollars offer an unprecedented opportunity for Pennsylvania to extend the strides we've already made in making broadband available to everyone."

Expanding reliable, affordable high-speed connectivity will preserve and create jobs, help those impacted by the recession, spur advances in science and health, and provide long-term benefits in rural and urban communities, the Governor added.

Pennsylvania's seven applications are competing for some of the $7.2 billion available nationwide for broadband development under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, or ARRA. The funds would advance the state's existing broadband development efforts, as outlined in an aggressive strategy released in July. Applications include efforts to:

* Aggregate broadband purchases by educational facilities. The Department of Education applied for $49.7 million toward a $113.2 million plan to connect 514 schools, libraries, colleges and universities in a seamless network to close the digital divide, in part by aggregating demand to diminish disparities in price and availability between urban and rural areas. Aggregated demand makes capital investment decisions easier for telecommunication providers.

* Extend communications infrastructure to reach un-served and underserved areas. The state Office of Administration applied for $28.7 million toward a $35.9 million venture to extend services to a large area of northern Pennsylvania that currently is not served, or underserved, by commercial providers. It would help increase network capacity and enhance existing networks -- cables, wires, towers, antennae and other microwave and land-based infrastructure -- to make it more economically feasible for providers of so-called "last mile" services to reach homes, businesses and other rural customers. The proposal includes an east-west corridor between I-80 and Pennsylvania's northern border, which includes 988,000 households in 32 counties, 202,000 businesses, 1,222 public safety agencies, 1,180 educational entities, and 255 health care facilities.

* Train educators to enhance instruction by using broadband Internet effectively. The Department of Education applied for $12.5 million toward a $25 million project to train approximately 1,500 teachers and other education professionals on the effective use of broadband for learning, as well as to educate students, parents, school board members and community members about the value of broadband in cost-effective education.

* Help communities, businesses, first-responders and institutions effectively use broadband. The Department of Community and Economic Development applied for $7.9 million toward a $10 million initiative that will help communities, businesses, first-responders and anchor institutions.

The initiative will be carried out by 13 economic development organizations: DCED, the Center for eBusiness and Advanced IT, PennTAP at Penn State, and the state's 10 economic development districts, which are comprised of the seven Appalachian Regional Commission-designated local development districts, the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, the Regional Economic Development District Initiative of South-Central Pennsylvania, and the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corp.

* Create broadband centers at libraries, community colleges and other educational facilities. The Department of Education applied for $5 million toward a $10 million effort to expand broadband access beyond classroom walls into libraries and community colleges. It provides equipment, software and other technology, training, technical support, management and oversight for 100 centers across the state.

* Map broadband availability and adoption throughout Pennsylvania. Together, the Office of Administration and DCED applied for $4.5 million to build upon current efforts to map the statewide availability and adoption of broadband service. Non-proprietary information will be made public and searchable at street-address level. Pennsylvania's legislatively mandated broadband mapping inventory, begun in 2004, was one of the first such enactments in the country. If fully funded, $4 million of this grant would be used over the next five years to gather more comprehensive and accurate state-level broadband mapping data, to develop state-level broadband maps, and to aid in the development of a national broadband map. As part of the application, the state also requested $500,000 to perform statewide broadband planning activities and to fund statewide and regional collaboration opportunities.

* Provide broadband Internet service to veterans' homes. The Department of Military and Veterans Affairs applied for $381,360 toward a $476,700 effort to provide access, education and training to 1,500 residents at the six state veterans' homes. This initiative will provide eight computers and ancillary devices for each of the six veterans' homes; offer training to residents; and provide on-site technical support and troubleshooting to make sure the broadband service and computers are maintained.

Complete applications for each of these initiatives, as well as the state's comprehensive broadband strategy, are available at www.recovery.pa.gov.

The information can also be found at www.newpa.com, keyword: Broadband initiatives. StimulatingBroadband.com

Broadband Stimulus Round I Applicants: City of Monrovia, CA to Seek WiFi Network in Broadband Stimulus

PR Newswire via StimulatingBroadband.com 08/24/09 LOS ANGELES -- The City of Monrovia, CA and Champion WiFi, a Subsidiary of Champion Broadband, have partnered to apply for $2.7 million in stimulus money to improve broadband penetration in the City.

This initiative would improve broadband penetration and public safety access by providing free Internet access to community anchor institutions and to the Monrovia Fire Department. The current broadband penetration rate is 35% in the City, well below the California average of 56%.

The project would overlay a dual band 2.4 GHz and 4.9 GHz network over the City, using BelAir Networks BA 100 S Strand mounted node. The nodes will ride upon the existing Champion network, eliminating pole and access challenges that have hindered many WiFi deployments. Arris will serve as Systems Integrator on the project.

Champion will fund 20% of the project if the application is approved and funded by NTIA. The company would also provide its network to mount the wireless nodes.

Champion Broadband and its subsidiary Champion WiFi; led by CEO Ruben Garcia, is a broadband service provider which offers video, high speed data and voice services in Arcadia and Monrovia. Ruben Garcia commented, "We are excited to partner with the City of Monrovia on this exciting opportunity to improve broadband penetration. We look forward to making broadband more available to all residents and improving public safety in the City."

About Champion Broadband
Champion Broadband provides a full range of advanced broadband services, including advanced digital TV, video entertainment programming, high-speed Internet access, and home telephone. The company is dedicated to serving communities of Arcadia and Monrovia, CA. For more information on Champion Broadband, please visit: www.championbroadband.com.


StimulatingBroadband.com

RESOLUTE Partners Selects BelAir Networks for U.S. Military Wi-Fi Network Deployments

BelAir Networks Press Release via StimulatingBroadband.com 08/24/09 Southington, CT, RESOLUTE Partners, the leading provider of personal public internet access in the U.S. Military market, has selected BelAir Networks market-leading Wi-Fi solutions for RESOLUTE customers around the world. BelAir Networks comprehensive Wi-Fi product line and RESOLUTE's powerful network OSS, installation, service and support operations deliver a carrier class communications experience to both end-users and network customers.

Michael Blanco, RESOLUTE Partners CEO, said, "We are pleased to be associated with BelAir Networks. We believe by adding their products and engineering expertise to our portfolio, we can increase the capabilities of our Wi-Fi and wireless networks and create more choices and add more value for our customers."

As Wi-Fi equipment provider to North America's largest Wi-Fi Networks, BelAir Networks ranks number 1 in recent market share studies including Dell'Oro Group's Wireless LAN Quarterly Report and Infonetics Research Wireless LAN and Wi-Fi Mesh Equipment and Phones Report. These results reinforce BelAir Networks position as the vendor of choice for service providers, businesses and government customers requiring large-scale or multi-site Wi-Fi coverage.

BelAir Networks offers the industry's most comprehensive product portfolio with the highest capacity, lowest latency and fastest roaming speeds. Products support Wi-Fi, WiMAX, 4.9 GHz Public Safety, 5.9 GHz ITS, and 4.4 GHz Military spectrum bands and feature an integrated FIPS 140-2 module.

"BelAir Networks is focused on enabling service providers like RESOLUTE Partners to cost-effectively deploy broadband wireless networks to meet the market's increased demand for the latest technology and faster speeds," said Bernard Herscovich, President and CEO, BelAir Networks. "BelAir Networks products integrate seamlessly with the service provider's network and back office infrastructure, facilitating service provisioning and bundling."

Meeting the changing technology needs of the military community is a top priority for RESOLUTE Partners. Providing public Internet access and recreational computing to service men and women since 1996, RESOLUTE has seen a dramatic increase in the importance of Internet access for the troops serving at home and overseas as they have readily embraced the latest technologies including Wi-Fi enabled laptops, Wi-Fi game controllers and today's multi-function devices such as smart phones.

RESOLUTE Partners expects to begin the deployment of BelAir Networks products in select military networks over the next several months. The rugged terrain and remote location of many military installations make BelAir Networks the ideal solution for delivering a robust Wi-Fi signal to service members who want to connect with families and loved ones or who just want to relax playing the latest version of World of WarCraft online.

About RESOLUTE Partners
RESOLUTE Partners is the leading provider of public Internet access and recreational computing services in the U.S. military community. The company operates CZee CyberZone Internet game centers and Wi-Fi networks for AAFES (Army Air Force Exchange Service), the U.S. Marine Corps, the U.S. Navy and the Coast Guard on installations in the U.S., Germany, Kuwait and Iraq. RESOLUTE also provides managed Internet access, both wired and wireless, to recreation centers, libraries and Exchange food courts. RESOLUTE delivers end-to-end, turnkey solutions to clients and other network operators.

From bandwidth provisioning and installation to service and support for circuits, network equipment and end-user hardware. RESOLUTE offers both pay-to-use and amenity services all managed with an integrated OSS for configuration, authentication, monitoring, reporting and billing. The company's 24/7 technical call center supports the unique needs of end-users and clients. For more information please visit www.www.resolutepartners.com.


About BelAir Networks
BelAir Networks is the market share leader in Service Provider Wi-Fi solutions. The company's portfolio of indoor and outdoor wireless LAN access points, control and management systems enable service providers, government and businesses to deliver high performance, scalable and flexible managed Wi-Fi services to both enterprise and public users.

BelAir Networks solutions provide a compelling return on investment and address the need for public Wi-Fi hot spots and hotzones, secure wireless LAN, cellular data offload, wireless backhaul, surveillance, and smart grid networks. Innovative cable, telecom and mobile service providers and government, education, retail, hospitality, healthcare, mass transit and property management customers use BelAir Networks to drive revenue and improve competitiveness.

Founded in 2001, BelAir Networks is a privately held company backed by investment from leading venture capital firms including Comcast Interactive Capital, T-Mobile Venture Fund and Trilogy Equity Partners. For more information, visit www.belairnetworks.com. StimulatingBroadband.com

Broadband Stimulus Round I Applicants: OpenCape Seeks $40 Million for Middle Mile Project

Open Cape Press Release via StimulatingBroadband.com 08/24/09 The non-profit OpenCape Corporation announced on August 19 it had submitted its application for federal stimulus funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The federal broadband stimulus funding has $7.2 Billion to be awarded nationwide, based on a competitive grants process. First round awards are expected to be announced in late 2009.

The $40 million project to build middle mile capacity on Cape Cod, the Islands, and southeastern Massachusetts was submitted to the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program and will address the region’s need for digital capacity for economic development, regional sustainability, and emergency services opportunities.

“OpenCape is the product of years of work and collaboration by organizations and individuals across our region,” said OpenCape’s president, Dan Gallagher. “It’s a vital part of the region’s long term growth and competitiveness strategy and we are excited to have completed the application for first round funding from the Broadband Stimulus program.”

OpenCape’s submitted project will provide capacity for all of the towns in Barnstable, Dukes, and Nantucket Counties. In addition, 11 towns and cities of Plymouth County are included in the service area. Together, these towns contain approximately 321,204 households representing approximately 515,648 individuals, as well as 62,129 businesses.

The project, whose partners include RCN Metro Optical and Barnstable County, includes more than 300 miles of fiber optics, a microwave backhaul network, and a regional collocation data center. The open access, vendor neutral middle mile network will connect towns and schools across the region, emergency evacuation centers and libraries, and will enable competition in last mile services to homes and businesses.

Simulating Broadband.com previously reported that RCN Metro Optical was selected on July 23 by OpenCape, following a public Request For Information (RFI) process launched on May 15 (download: .PDF).

Specifically, OpenCape will connect more than 70 community anchor institutions to the network as part of its initial build-out, including twelve emergency shelters located in schools, 30 libraries, five colleges, six academic research facilities, and 18 town or public safety buildings. The OpenCape path makes it possible for many additional anchor institutions to easily add service from the network.

In addition, OpenCape will build further connections to the Internet in Providence, RI along the South Coast, and to Boston through Plymouth and Brockton. These connections are needed to connect OpenCape’s middle mile capacity to the high level Internet backbone. The fiber along the South Coast can also serve as a foundation for additional broadband capacity in that region, helping to provide an economic stimulus in cities such as Fall River and New Bedford where unemployment is nearly 14 percent.

OpenCape estimates that the project will create more than 200 jobs in the equipment, construction and manufacturing sectors, as well as an additional 200 in indirect jobs.

About OpenCape Corporation
The OpenCape Corporation (www.opencape.com) is a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation. OpenCape Corporation’s purpose is to fulfill the need for a regional communications network on Cape Cod and the Islands to enhance education, research, and economic development, AND provide for an emergency communications network in times of crisis.


About RCN Metro Optical Networks
RCN Metro, http://www.rcnmetro.com, is a premier provider of high-capacity transport services for carriers as well as large and medium-sized businesses. RCN Metro offers a comprehensive suite of services including: Ethernet, SONET, Wavelength, Video Transport, Internet and more. With a network leveraging unique rights-of-way, spanning from Maine to Virginia and out to Chicago, RCN Metro deploys custom solutions to service providers as well as companies in the finance, hospitality, media, government, health care and education industries. RCN Metro is a wholly owned division of RCN Corporation.
StimulatingBroadband.com

Friday, August 21, 2009

Vermont Telecom Regulator to FairPoint: Respond to Accusations in E-mail About OSS Failures

An Exclusive Breaking News Report from StimulatingBroadband.com


StimulatingBroadband.com 08/21/09 - The State of Vermont's telecom regulator, the Vermont Public Service Board (PSB) today ordered FairPoint Communications (NYSE: FRP) to respond to serious accusations relative to the rural telephone operating company's decision to proceed with the switch from computer systems of Verizon Communications, Inc. (NYSE: VZ) to its own system supporting the operations of FairPoint in 3 Northern New England states.

The accusations, made in an anonymous e-mail, claim that FairPoint’s senior management ignored warnings that FairPoint was not prepared for the “cutover” from the Verizon operational support systems (OSS).

The anonymous e-mailer states he was an employee or consultant associated with one of the firms involved in the OSS transition effort.

The order by the PSB to FairPoint was issued in the form of a Memorandum (reproduced, below) by PSB Clerk, Ms. Susan Hudson, Friday afternoon. FairPoint was also given a copy of the e-mail at that time. The Memorandum and e-mail copy was subsequently e-mailed by Ms. Hudson to some 40 parties of record to the ongoing FairPoint Docket of the Board, Docket 7270. StimulatingBroadband.com acquired a copy of the Hudson e-mail, the attached Memorandum, and accusatory and anonymous e-mail.

The cutover, from a plethora of Verizon legacy systems to a new FairPoint system, executed on January 30th of this year, triggered the single worst upsurge of consumer complaints against an operating telephone company in the history of American telecommunications. FairPoint customers in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont have complained bitterly and frequently in the press and to regulators about billing errors, installation delays, and repair delays.

FairPoint agreed to acquire the 1.48 million access lines in the 3 Northern New England states in a Reverse Morris Swap deal tax-advantaged for Verizon, announced in January of 2007. FairPoint paid Verizon a total of $2.72 billion for the customers and telecom facilities in the 3 states. The acquisition was for wireline assets of Verizon only. Verizon Wireless assets in the states of Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont were not involved. Previous to the acquisition, FairPoint had operated a total of 248,000 access lines.

With the final approval of regulators in the 3 states, FairPoint operationally took over the Verizon assets on March 31, 2008. In the intervening time between April 2008 and February 2009, FairPoint supported its New England customers using the legacy operational support systems (OSS) of Verizon, under a Transition Services Agreement with the larger carrier.

The Memorandum issued by the PSB Clerk earlier today states that the office of Vermont Attorney General, William H. Sorrell (D-VT), which had previously reviewed the e-mail, informed the PSB the Board was free to pursue its own investigation.

The accusations against FairPoint senior management were made in an anonymous e-mail sent to the PSB earlier this month. Although StimulatingBroadband.com is publishing yesterday's Memorandum from the PSB to FairPoint (below), we have refrained from republishing a full text copy of the accusatory e-mail itself, based on our assessment that the investigatory and regulatory branches of the State of Vermont are better prepared to evaluate the veracity of the charges.

FairPoint itself, in its most recent Form 10-Q disclosure dated August 5, 2009, states that the operational disruptions caused by its OSS malfunctions have delayed the company’s effort to reposition itself competitively in the New England market.

The company filing states, in part, “while we were operating under the transition services agreement, dated as of January 15, 2007, which we entered into with certain subsidiaries of Verizon in connection with the merger, as amended on March 31, 2008 (the "transition services agreement"), we had limited ability to change current product offerings.

Upon completion of the cutover from the Verizon systems to the new FairPoint systems on January 30, 2009 (the "cutover"), we expected to be able to modify bundles and prices to be more competitive in the marketplace. However, due to certain systems functionality issues (as described herein), we have had limited ability during the first half of 2009 to make changes to our product offerings. In late June 2009, we began actively marketing and promoting our DSL product for the first time since the cutover.”

The Memorandum issued by the Vermont PSB on Friday, August 21, is reproduced in full:

MEMORANDUM
To: Telephone Operating Company of Vermont LLC, d/b/a FairPoint Communications ("FairPoint Communications or "FairPoint")

cc: Parties in PSB Docket No. 7270

From: Susan M. Hudson, Clerk of the Board


Re: E-mail Communication


Date: August 21, 2009


On August 14, 2009, the Public Service Board received an e-mail communication
entitled "Information about Fairpoint that PUC should know", as it relates to the transition and cut-over from Verizon New England Inc., d/b/a Verizon Vermont, to FairPoint.Communications. A copy of the e-mail is enclosed.

At that time, we contacted the Vermont Attorney General's Office ("AG's Office")
to make sure they knew about the e-mail communication. The AG's Office asked the Board to not take any action until they had reviewed the matter. On August 20th, the AG's Office informed the Board that it could pursue this matter on its own.

Would you please provide the Board with a response to the e-mail communication
by August 31, 2009. Parties wishing to submit comments on FairPoint's August 31 filing, are requested to do so by September 8, 2009.
Enclosure (1) StimulatingBroadband.com

Harris Stratex Networks Secures U.S. Department of Agriculture RUS Listing for Suite of Wireless Transmission Products

PRNewswire-FirstCall via StimulatingBroadband.com 08/21/09 RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C., Harris Stratex Networks, Inc. (NASDAQ: HSTX) , a leading provider of wireless solutions that enable the evolution of next-generation fixed and mobile broadband networks, today announced it has received U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Utilities Service (RUS) Rural Development product acceptance for two additional wireless transmission products.

In response to customer demand for high-capacity TDM and Ethernet broadband solutions for the U.S. government's broadband stimulus program, Harris Stratex secured RUS listing for products within the Eclipse(TM) and TRuepoint 5000 platforms. These products are ideal for use in telecommunications systems operated by RUS loan program borrowers.

RUS acceptance is recommended for broadband stimulus funding provided through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) and required for operators requesting federal funds from the USDA Rural Broadband Access Loan program for the purpose of purchasing and deploying broadband systems in rural communities--programs designed to stimulate rural economies and enhance overall quality of life through programs such as distance learning and telemedicine.

To access the complete list of materials accepted for use on systems of USDA rural development telecommunications borrowers, please click here.


"Securing RUS listing is really important to Harris Stratex. It reinforces our commitment to independent carriers that are focused on delivering broadband connectivity to unserved and underserved geographies across the country," said Jim Biard, vice president of carrier and federal markets for Harris Stratex.

"Helping rural providers stay current and continue growth with cost-effective, reliable solutions is one way we can help play a role in connecting the unconnected and enhancing the quality of life for those who previously didn't have broadband access."


For more than 45 years, Harris Stratex has deployed on-time and on-budget wireless transmission systems for government organizations, enterprises, and various service providers, including rural electric cooperatives, WISPs and ISPs that provide broadband access to rural communities. The ability for providers to meet tight timelines is a key aspect of RUS broadband loan programs.

Selecting RUS-listed Harris Stratex products and turnkey solutions for rural broadband projects demonstrates an applicant has considered all aspects of their network and service architecture, a key facet to receive funding.
In addition to its complete line of RUS-listed products, Harris Stratex in April launched its GO-Stimulus Partnership Program, a unique initiative designed to enable U.S. network providers to best capitalize on the ARRA, which allocates $7.2 billion in grant and loan funding for broadband and wireless initiatives.

The GO-Stimulus Partnership Program provides operators with a turnkey service - from building successful ARRA grant and loan applications, to network deployment, implementation and support - to provide immediate and long-term stimulus success.


The USDA Rural Broadband Access Loan and Loan Guarantee Program provides funding and low-cost loans for the construction, improvement and acquisition of facilities and equipment for broadband service in eligible rural communities. These loans facilitate deployment of new and innovative technologies to provide two-way data transmission of 200 kbps or more, in communities with populations up to 20,000.

The program goal is to ensure that rural consumers enjoy the same quality and range of telecommunications services that are available in urban and suburban communities. RUS acceptance allows service providers to purchase Harris Stratex wireless transmission systems with these funds.


About Harris Stratex Networks, Inc. Harris Stratex Networks, Inc. is a leading provider of wireless solutions that enable the evolution of next-generation fixed and mobile broadband networks. The company offers reliable, flexible and scalable wireless network solutions, backed by comprehensive professional services and support. Harris Stratex Networks serves all global markets, including mobile network operators, public safety agencies, private network operators, utility and transportation companies, government agencies and broadcasters.

Customers in more than 135 countries depend on Harris Stratex Networks to build, expand and upgrade their voice, data and video solutions. Harris Stratex Networks is recognized around the world for innovative, best-in-class wireless networking solutions and services. StimulatingBroadband.com

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Alert: Broadband Stim Electronic Grant Application System Appears to Reject Filings, Again

StimulatingBroadband.com 08/20/09 Boston - We have received anecdotal and scattered reports this afternoon that the Easygrants electronic grant application system supporting the Round I funding cycle of the total $7.2 billion "broadband stimulus" program, within the federal Recovery Act, has apparently reached peak capacity again, and is now rejecting at least some attempts by applicants to complete electronically filed "core applications".



We also have anecdotal reports of many successful electronic application uploads over the past 48 hours. As we have attempted to suggest, as in our Advisory of early this morning, we believe there is a plethora of variables a play here that only the federal agency officials and their contractor working on the
Easygrants system are able to fully answer.



An executive at one service provider attempting to file an electronic application today states that the listing of his proposed service area's census blocks appears to be what has caused his filing to be rejected twice.



In response, an employee of the NTIA-RUS jointly manged Helpdesk facility responded over e-mail, " If the character limit for the list of census blocks is insufficient to allow a complete list, we recommend condensing the list by expressing the list in ranges of census blocks (e.g., 600-605 instead of 600, 601, 602, 603, 604, 605). If this technique does not allow the list of census blocks to fit within the character limit, we recommend uploading the list into "Supplemental Information" on the Uploads page."



Could these reductions in uploaded data under brought the total application size under the recently announced 16.0 MB file size cap? Is there similar file size cap imposed by the system on a per page, or a per application question?



As we suggested to applicants in our Advisory of this morning: Any applicant that is finding his electronic application is still being rejected, should immediately document current status with the NTIA-RUS jointly managed Helpdesk via a phone call, and e-mail.



Document Everything

If you experience any continued system disruption impacting your ability to continue uploading your application(s) tonight and into the day on Thursday, we recommend that you take a moment and document for the NTIA-RUS Helpdesk the exact problem you encounter, and the specific impact it has on your effort.



E-mail the documentation to: Helpdesk@broadbandusa.gov



Call the Helpdesk

NTIA-RUS have added to the hours of its helpdesk resource. Live operators are now available 9 AM to 8 PM ET during the final days leading up to August 20.



Call the Helpdesk: (888) 861-5509. StimulatingBroadband.com

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