Thursday, October 29, 2009

New Hampshire Broadband Stimulus: Gov. Lynch Recommends 14 Projects to NTIA

(Editor's Note: This story was posted at 3:20 PM (PT) today, and will be updated as we conduct an analysis of recommendations made to NTIA by Governor Lynch. We thank the Governor's Press Secretary, Mr. Colin Manning for his assistance.)

StimulatingBroadband.com 10/29/09 San Francisco
-
The Office of New Hampshire Governor John H. Lynch (D-NH) today released for public review its broadband stimulus funding priorities for the Granite State sent to Washington for funding of broadband projects under the federal stimulus package.

In a 10-page letter (see: Resources, below) addressed to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) of the U.S. Department of Commerce, Governor Lynch recommended 14 in-state projects from among the 64 total eligible projects which he was allowed to comment on under federal funding regulations.

Resources: StimulatingBroadband.com's State - NTIA Filings
1. The New Hampshire filing (4 pages), 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 32 state reports.

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

StimulatingBroadband.com

New York Broadband Stimulus: Gov. Paterson Releases Stimulus Recommendations Sent to Feds

(Editor's Note: This story was posted at 1:15 PM (PT) today, and will be updated as we run the analysis of the Paterson Administration's recommendations to NTIA. We greatly appreciate the work of the Office of the New York State CIO (CIO/OFT) in discussing the New York State review process with us.)

StimulatingBroadband.com 10/29/09 San Francisco
- The Administration of New York Governor David Paterson (D-NY) today released its communication, dated October 14, to the
Obama Administration outlining broadband stimulus funding priorities for the Empire State under the federal Recovery Act.
In a 10-page letter (see: Resources, below) addressed to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) of the U.S. Department of Commerce, Paterson's federal Recovery Act manager, Senior Advisor Timothy J. Gilchrist, endorsed a package of applications covering multiple areas of New York State.

The State's recommendations were divided into the 3 categorical areas outlined in the federal regulations for the total $7.2 billion program.

Resources: StimulatingBroadband.com's State - NTIA Filings

1. The New York State filing (10 pages), together with our compilation of documents from the other states which have issued their recommendations to NTIA, may be read and downloaded here (free registration), via our corporate site. As of this posting, we have uploaded 30 state reports.

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

StimulatingBroadband.com

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

North Carolina Broadband Stimulus: Gov. Perdue Recommends 8 Projects to NTIA

Governor Recommends a Total of $72.619 Million in Federal Funding for 8 Projects, Highlights NCREN Statewide Broadband & Educational Fiber Network

StimulatingBroadband.com 10/27/09 San Francisco
- North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue (D-NC) has recommended to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) that 8 broadband stimulus projects, with a total price tag of $72.619 Million, in the Tar Heel state be funded under Round I of the broadband stimulus program financed by the federal Recovery Act.

The Governor passed on the 8 recommendations of her 8-member BTOP Review Committee in her letter of October 14 to Mr. Larry Strickling, Administrator of NTIA, a division of the U.S. Department of Commerce. The Committee was assisted with administrative and technical support by the e-NC Authority, one of the oldest and most reputable state broadband programs in the nation.

In her letter to Administrator Strickling, the Governor recommended funding for a total of 8 projects estimated to require $72.619 Million in federal funding, according to a review of their respective applications filed with NTIA:

3 Broadband Infrastructure Projects:
Statewide network expansion of MCNC / NCREN
(Middle Mile Project) - $28.225 Million

Education & Research Consortium of of the Western Carolinas
(Middle Mile / Last Mile Project) - $38.775 Million

French Broad Electric Membership Corporation
(Last Mile Remote Project) - $ 1.470 Million

4 Public Computer Center Projects:
Mitchell County Historic Courthouse Foundation
(Public Computer Center Project) - $239,194

Olive Hill Community Economic Development Corporation
(Public Computer Center Project) - $448,805

City of High Point
(Public Computer Center Project) - $261,853

Housing Authority of the City of Wilson
(Public Computer Center Project) - $200,000

1 Sustainable Broadband Adoption Program:
McDowell County Schools
(Sustainable Broadband Adoption Project) - $3.006 Million

Governor Perdue's recommendation letter takes particular interest in documenting the potential benefits of the NCREN (North Carolina Research and Educational Network) of the state's quasi-public Microelectronics Center of North Carolina, located in Research Triangle Park. As we previously reported in September, Governor Purdue has been a strong advocate for both K-12 educational networking and rural broadband expansion in her state.

Both policy goals are targeted with the proposed 600 route mile expansion of NCREN's optical fiber statewide network, at a cost of $28.1 million, as NCREN's expansion is slated to serve as a middle mile / backhaul network for carriers serving underserved and unserved regions of the state.

Resources: StimulatingBroadband.com's State - NTIA Filings
1. The North Carolina filing (3 pages), together with our compilation of documents from the other states which have issued their recommendations to NTIA, may be read and downloaded here (free registration), via our corporate site. As of this posting, we have uploaded 27 state reports.

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

Citizens Against Government Waste Takes Aim at Broadband Stimulus Applicants

BUSINESS WIRE via StimulatingBroadband.com 10/27/09 - Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) today raised objections to 23 applications for broadband stimulus grants totaling $550 million that have been submitted to the National Telecommunications Information Administration (NTIA).

“There have been numerous reports of waste and mismanagement of stimulus funds, such as hundreds of underage ‘first-time homebuyers,’ including a four year-old, seeking the $8,000 tax credit,” said CAGW President Tom Schatz. “There is a total of $4.7 billion at stake in the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program, which should not become another opportunity to waste the taxpayers’ money.”

There are many reasons to question the 23 applications. Due to a 20 percent matching fund requirement, states with large budget deficits, such as New York and Maryland, will have to come up with tens of millions of dollars that they simply don’t have to spend on broadband services.

One applicant, the California Broadband Cooperative, is seeking $81 million to serve 400 housing units, equal to $202,500 per unit; even worse, it does not have the 20 percent matching funds and is seeking 100 percent funding from NTIA.

The City of Philadelphia is asking for $21,818,411 to build a fiber backbone/ring in the city; and Wilco Electronic Systems, as part of a Philadelphia Housing Authority project, is asking for a suspiciously similar $21,865,647 to provide broadband service in parts of the city; both are examples of municipal overbuild.

Apparently the state of Delaware is bereft of any service providers; four of the applications cover all or part of the state. The most ridiculous request of all was made by the E-Mac Corporation, which claimed that there are 397,104 underserved households and 395,323 unserved homes in Delaware when there are approximately 300,000 households, period, in the entire state.

CAGW’s letters note that the entire NTIA budget in fiscal year 2009 was $658 million.

The $4.7 billion being provided in the stimulus for the BTOP is 624.5 percent greater than that amount. NTIA’s prior experience in issuing broadband grants was limited to the discontinued Technology Opportunities Program, which provided $233 million in grants between 1994-2004, or 5 percent of the BTOP total.


“In order for NTIA to spend $4.7 billion expeditiously without waste or mismanagement, the agency will have to thoroughly review each application. There is a September 30, 2010 deadline to spend the stimulus money, so there may be a temptation to just say ‘yes’ to every applicant,” added Schatz.

“Taxpayers, the media, and hopefully members of Congress will be watching to see how these applications are handled by NTIA.”


Citizens Against Government Waste is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in government. StimulatingBroadband.com

Stimulating Oversight: What to Watch For in Today's Senate Hearing on Broadband Stimulus

StimulatingBroadband.com 10/27/09 San Francisco - What should observers of the $7.2 billion federal broadband stimulus program watch for in today's oversight hearing conducted by the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee?

As we reported last week, the full Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation will conduct an oversight hearing on the program, funded As part of the American Recovery and reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), beginning at 2:45 PM (ET) today.

Our suggestions of the significance of today's hearing, and what to watch for:

1. Timing Is Everything
Today's hearing will most likely be the last Congressional oversight proceeding before the next 2 major events in the national roll-out of the broadband stimulus program:

a. The release,
targeted within the next 7 - 10 days, of a new draft regulations, with a probable public comment cycle, for funding Round II of the program.

b. The start of announcements, on or about 11/07, of the project funding winners under funding Round I of the program. Senators and the agency chiefs from NTIA and RUS will all be staking-out their policy positions for both Round II procedures and substance.

Major consensus expressed by Committee members on any specific points will be reflected in the new draft regulations.

2. A Definitive Announcement on a Final Funding Round?
At the last House oversight hearing, NTIA Administrator Larry Strickling first floated the idea of one final funding round for the program, rather than the follow-on two rounds initially described by NTIA and RUS. Watch for a definitive statement on this point during today's hearing from the agencies.

3. The Role of the States
State governors' office, and state broadband programs heads across the nation were none to happy about the procedural change in how the input from the states was sought and collected in funding Round I. Some food fights have emerged in states like Minnesota and Missouri around these issues. Watch for some push back from senators on this point, for some mea culpas from Administrator Strickling (state input is strictly a factor in the NTIA - BTOP program, not in RUS - BIP).

4. Unserved / Underserved Definitions
Cable and telco incumbents last week expressed strong reservations about the definitions of unserved vs. under regions under the Round I funding guidelines. We are seeing some (probably not a lot) of incumbent challenges to Round I applicant's proposed service areas. Watch for statements from the agency chiefs about this issue, and partisan oriented positioning from the senators.

5. Rural Remote Definitions
In the last House oversight hearing, there was much discussion about how the "rural remote" definitions in the Round I rules made it impossible for many rural unserved areas of the nation to access program funds at the most favorable conditions. Look for RUS Administrator Johnathan Adelstein to have more definitive policy statements today on this point.

6. Rural vs. Urban: Setting the Long Term Agenda
Starting just weeks after the ink was dry on the ARRA legislation, signed by President Obama on 02/17/09, rural state U.S. Senators began pushing to make sure their constituencies took precedence in programmatic broadband stimulus funding.

Since that time, numerous constituencies and Members of the U.S. House have planted their respective flags lobbying instead for a focus on more urbanized underserved communities. Closely tracking with these issues are the community anchor institutional players, with libraries and educational groups in the forefront, arguing for the importance of funding for broadband big pipes to key institutions.

Watch for statements on the record from various senators as they frame this strategic level issue of 'rural vs. urban' for subsequent funding rounds in federal appropriations going forward.

The other lead 'big picture' policy issue to grapple with: Universal service Fund reform. StimultingBroadband.com

Monday, October 26, 2009

Broadband Stimulus and the States: 21 State Recommendation Documents to NTIA Posted

StimulatingBroadband.com 10/26/09 San Francisco - As of this morning, Stimulatingbroadband.com has collected and posted 21 recommendation documents filed by state governors with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) for broadband stimulus project funding priorities in their respective jurisdictions.

We continue to work to collect and post these documents on a state by state basis, as we are able to find them, ask for their public release in cases in which they have not been released to date, and post them for our readers.


StimulatingBroadband.com's State - NTIA Resources:
1. All 21 state filings are posted, and are available for download here (free registration), via our corporate site.

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



State - NTIA Recommendations Filings Posted by StimulatingBroadband.com:

1. Alaska
Filed with NTIA: 10/13/09 by Gov. Sean Parnell (R-AK)
Our analysis / story: Here
Document download:
Here

2. Alabama
Filed with NTIA: 10/14/09 by Gov. Bob Riley (R-AL)
Our analysis / story: Here
Document download:
Here

3. Arizona
Filed with NTIA: 10/14/09 by Gov. Jan Brewer (D-AZ)
Document download:
Here

4. California
Filed with NTIA: 10/14/09, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA)
Our analysis / story: Here and Here
Document download: Here

5. Florida
Filed with NTIA: 10/14/09 by Gov. Charlie Crist (R-FL)
Document download:
Here

6. Georgia

Filed with NTIA:
10/14/09 by Gov. Sonny Perdue (R-GA)
Document download: Here

7. Illinois
Filed with NTIA: 10/14/09 by Gov. Pat Quinn (D-IL)
Document download:
Here

8. Kansas
Filed with NTIA: 10/14/09 by Gov. Mark Parkinson (D-KS)
Document download:
Here

9. Massachusetts
Filed with NTIA:10/14/09 by Gov. Deval Patrick (D-MA)
Our analysis / story: Here
Document download: Here

10. Maine
Filed with NTIA: 10/14/09 by Gov. John E. Baldacci (D-ME)
Our analysis / story: Here

Document download:
Here

11. Michigan

Filed with NTIA: 10/14/09 by Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D-MI)
Our analysis / story: Here
Document download:
Here

12. Minnesota
Filed with NTIA: Unknown date by undisclosed state agency or official.
Our analysis / story: Here
Document download: Not available, held as "not a public document" by Pawlenty Administration.

13. Missouri
Filed with NTIA: 10/14/09 by Gov. Jay Nixon (D-MO)
Document download:
Here

14. Nebraska
Filed with NTIA: 10/09/09 by Gov. Dave Heineman (R-NE)
Document download:
Here

15. Oregon
Filed with NTIA: 10/10/09 by Gov. Ted Kulongoski (D-OR)
Our analysis / story: Here
Document download:
Here

16. Pennsylvania
Filed with NTIA: 10/14/09 by Gov. Edward G. Rendell (D-PA)
Unknown date Our analysis / story: Here
Document download: Here

17. South Carolina
Filed with NTIA: 10/14/09 by Gov. Mark Sanford (R-SC)
Document download:
Here

18. Texas
Filed with NTIA: 10/14/09 by State Agricultural Commissioner Todd Staples (R-TX)
Our analysis / story: Here
Document download: Here

19. Virginia
Filed with NTIA: 10/13/09 by Gov. Tim Kaine (D-VA)
Document download:
Here

20. Vermont
Filed with NTIA: 10/14/09 by State Chief Recovery Officer Tom Evslin
Document download: Here

21. Washington State
Filed with NTIA: 10/14/09 by
Gov. Chris Gregoire (D-WA)
Our analysis / story: Here
Document download:
Here

StimulatingBroadband.com

Saturday, October 24, 2009

NTIA: All States Filed Broadband Stimulus Funding Recommendations

StimulatingBroadband.com 10/24/09 San Francisco - The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) yesterday stated for the first time that the chief executives of all states, territories, and the District of Columbia have filed recommendation letters with the agency suggesting how broadband stimulus funds should be expended in their jurisdictions.

Ms. Jessica Schafer, NTIA Press Secretary, responded Friday afternoon with an affirmative "Yes" to our written question, "Have all states, territories, and DC filed recommendation communications with NTIA, if not which states, territories, and DC have not filed to date?"

We confirmed Ms. Schafer's written statement in a telephone interview with her early Friday evening, Washington time. Ms. Schafer's statement and confirmation with this publication is the first official word from NTIA that all states filed their respective project recommendation documents with the federal agency by the deadline of last week.

States Given October 14 Deadline
Governors' offices and state broadband program officials around the nation were given a deadline of last Wednesday, October 14, to advise the NTIA, a division of the of the U.S. Department of Commerce, of their recommendations for project funding under Round I of the federal broadband stimulus program funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).

Review Process Changed
Under rules promulgated in July by NTIA, governors were given the option of making such recommendations for proposed projects in their respective states and territories under NTIA's Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP). On September 18, in an announcement that surprised many state officials, NTIA Administrator Lawrence E. Strickling informed the states, U.S. Territories, and the District of Columbia that the procedures for state review outlined in regulations in July had been changed.

The total filed universe of upwards of 2,200 funding applications were transmitted the governors' offices around the nation without prior review, ranking, or selection for basic compliance with eligibility standards by NTIA and its team of voluntary reviewers, as had initially been established in the regulations issued in July.

21 State Documents Posted to Date
The task of informing recommended applicants has been left by the federal agency to the various states. To date, StimulatingBroadband.com has secured from state governors' offices, and from state broadband programs, 21 recommendation documents sent to NTIA. We have posted all such documents we have been able to secure on our corporate site (see: Resources, below). We are continuing to work with the remaining states to secure and post an entire set of filed documents.

In what appears to be the single instance of such a determination, we reported on October 19 that the Administration of Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) has stated that the Governor's recommendation filing to NTIA "is not a public document."

Resources: StimulatingBroadband.com's State - NTIA Filings
1. The recommendation filings to NTIA of the 21 states which we have secured to will be posted via our corporate site, here.

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

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

California Broadband Stimulus: Gov. Schwarzenegger Recommends 64 Projects for Federal Funds

StimulatingBroadband.com 10/21/09 San Francisco - "More than 12 percent of Californians are unemployed, while many others are underemployed and finding it necessary to supplement their current incomes. Now more than ever, a fast, reliable Internet connection is essential across the state, as jobs are posted, filled and performed online. It is clear the expansion of broadband infrastructure across California could be the key to our economic recovery."

With that stark statement about the current economic plight of the world's eighth largest economy, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA) last week addressed his in-state recommendations for federal broadband stimulus funded projects to U.S. Commerce Assistant Secretary Larry Strickling.

In a 15-page letter (see: Resources, below) submitted on October 14 to Strickling, chief of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) at the U.S. Department of Commerce, the Governor recommended 64 projects from among the total 176 applications submitted to federal agencies in August.

As we reported yesterday, the recommendations to NTIA were compiled by upwards of 18 full and part time staffers from the state Office of the Chief Information Officer, and from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC).

Of the 64 projects recommend, 30 are for telecommunications Infrastructure (last mile and middle mile networks) proposals,
16 fall into the Sustainable Broadband Adoption category, and 18 are for proposed Public Computer Center projects. Each of those 3 categorical areas are separate sub-programs within NTIA's Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP).

Resources: StimulatingBroadband.com's State - NTIA Filings
1. The California filing (15 pages), together with our compilation of documents from the other states which have issued their recommendations to NTIA may be read and downloaded here (free registration), via our corporate site.

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

Stimulating Oversight: Senate Commerce Committee to Hold Broadband Stimulus Oversight Hearing on 10/27

StimulatingBroadband.com 10/21/09 San Francisco - The full U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation has posted a hearing notice for an Oversight Hearing of the broadband stimulus programs of the Recovery Act to be held next Tuesday, October 27.

Posting of the Hearing Notice as a Full Committee proceeding means that the proceeding will be chaired by Committee Chairman Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), with Ranking Member Sen. Kay Baily Hutchinson (R-TX). No witness list has been posted for the hearing to date.

The last Congressional oversight proceeding to look at the broadband stimulus programs within the Recovery Act was held on September 10 by the U.S. House Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

Hearing Notice:
Oversight of the Broadband Stimulus Programs in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Full Committee

Tuesday, October 27, 2009
02:30 PM SR - 253

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation announces the following full committee hearing on Oversight of the Broadband Stimulus Programs in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Individuals with disabilities who require an auxiliary aid or service, including closed captioning service for webcast hearings, should contact Naomi Eskin at 202-224-5115 at least three business days in advance of the hearing date.
StimulatingBroadband.com

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

California Broadband Stimulus: Public Release of State Funding Recommendations to Feds is Slated

(Editor's Note: This story has been updated with our ongoing report on the release of the California recommendation document, posted 10/21 with updates throughout 10/22.)

StimulatingBroadband.com 10/20/09 San Francisco
- The Administration of California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA) today stated to StimulatingBroadband.com that the public release of the state's recommendations to the federal government for "broadband stimulus" program funding of in-state broadband projects is expected "today or tomorrow."

I
n a telephone interview of this afternoon, Mr. Joe Camicia, Chief of Staff to Sate Chief Information Officer Ms. Teri Takai, and Bill Maile, media relations director for the Office of the CIO, stated that California made its recommendation filing by the deadline of last week with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) of the U.S. Department of Commerce. Camicia and Maile also stated that the "final approvals" for documentary release to the public are just about completed, with links to such documentation to be published on a state website.

The state officials confirmed for us that upwards of 18 full and part time state employees and outside personnel, drawn from both the CIO's Office and the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) have been working on the review effort.

The State Office of CIO was designated by Governor Schwarzenegger as the lead state agency to manage the state-level interface with the federal "broadband stim" program. The CPUC was assigned a cooperative role in the effort, given the Commission's nationally regarded expertise in state broadband programmatic incentives, subsidies, and targeted support.

Governors' offices and state broadband program officials around the nation were given a deadline of last Wednesday, October 14, to advise the NTIA of their recommendations for project funding under Round I of the federal broadband stimulus program. Under rules promulgated in July by NTIA, governors were given the option of making such recommendations for proposed projects in their respective states under NTIA's Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP).

California officials were presented with a total of 176 applications, requesting $2.65 billion for broadband stimulus funding, as they worked to make recommendations to their federal colleagues for project priorities here in the Golden State.

The Feds Give the States A Surprise
The NTIA changed the rules with a surprise announcement of September 18 as upwards of 2,200 funding applications were transmitted the governors' offices around the nation without prior review, ranking, or selection for even basic compliance with eligibility standards. This abrupt and fully unanticipated procedural change fell on California harder than any other state, given both the number and complexity of applications received, and the level of due diligence that sate officials had committed to for their review process.

While many states never publicly posted their review criteria for recommendations to NTIA, California's have been both public and detailed.


Our Take: Over the last week we have seen at least 1 governor, Parnell of Alaska, decide not to make recommendations to NTIA, and another, Pawlenty of Minnesota, refuse to release his communications to the federal agency as a public document. If the truth be told all of the governors and state broadband programs around the nation were more than a bit overwhelmed with the NTIA's regulatory change of September 18. California, while facing both massive budget constraints and a broadband deployment challenge greater than that of many countries, has gone ahead an done its job professionally, without complaint. State officials have done so befitting a jurisdiction with the eighth largest economy on the planet.

There will be winners and losers in the recommendations about to be announced. No one in either group can or should doubt the level of due diligence the Golden State as devoted to the effort.

Resources: StimulatingBroadband.com's State - NTIA Filings
1. Our compilation of documents from other states which have issued their recommendations to NTIA may be read and downloaded here (free registration), via our corporate site.

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

Stimulating Broadband Tech: Meraki Offers Wireless Networks to K-12 Schools for $40 per Student or Less

StimulatingBroadband.com 10/20/09 San Francisco - Meraki, the cloud-based wireless networking company, partially funded by Google Ventures announced the launch of its “Wireless For Schools” program today.

The wireless gear maker is offering K-12 schools and districts a comprehensive 802.11n wireless LAN at the price of $40 per student or less, depending on the deployment.

The program enables schools to install a high-quality wireless network quickly, easily, and at less than half the cost of other solutions in the market. To qualify, schools must contact Meraki and make their purchases by December 22, 2009.

“Our K-12 customers have told us they appreciate how Meraki makes it easy to install and maintain large-scale wireless networks with limited resources,” said Josh Zaretsky, Director of Marketing. “‘Wireless For Schools’ goes two steps further by making the cost of the wireless network totally predictable and shifting the risk of providing high quality wireless coverage from the customer to Meraki.”

The “Wireless For Schools” program provides schools with centrally managed, dual radio 802.11n coverage across the campus for a low, per-student price. The system includes Meraki MR14 access points, a 3-year license to Meraki’s Enterprise Cloud Controller, and business-class technical support. Unlike traditional vendors, there are no hidden costs, such as support and maintenance contracts, management appliances, or per-feature licenses.

Many schools are already considering wireless to take advantage of pending broadband stimulus and other funding programs. “Alongside an E-Rate rebate of 80%, a Meraki network would cost just $8 per student, or less,” said Zaretsky. “It’s an attractive time to buy wireless, and we hope ‘Wireless For Schools’ makes it even more attractive.”

“Wireless For Schools” was designed to make pricing straightforward for schools and school districts. Sample deployments are provided below. Meraki will also offer schools or districts with more than 1,000 students a price per student of less than $40. Installation services are not included in this offer, and Meraki has certified partners to assist with installation as needed.
Features Offered
Meraki networks also include bundled features that schools are often required to purchase separately, such as comprehensive content filtering and per-user bandwidth shaping. Additional benefits include award-winning mesh for simplified deployment; multiple virtual networks to keep students, faculty, and guests separate, and quality of service (QoS) for video surveillance cameras.

Interested K-12 schools can contact Meraki at 415.632.5800 to learn more about the “Wireless For Schools” program.


USDA-RUS Certified

In late July, the company announced that its WiFi access points received USDA Rural Development Acceptance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Utilities Service (RUS).

The Meraki equipment placed on the USDA Rural Development acceptance list included the Meraki Indoor, Meraki Outdoor and Meraki MR58 access points. All accessories for the product lines also received RUS acceptance. Meraki’s thousands of customers and network of partners are well positioned to qualify for stimulus funding to bring broadband access to educational institutions, unserved and underserved areas and rural communities.

“Municipalities, counties and educational agencies are seeking reliable and fast wireless broadband access that covers large areas,” said Sanjit Biswas, CEO and co-founder of Meraki.

“Meraki’s cloud-based solution makes it possible for them to deliver affordable high-speed access to their users without requiring large IT or network operations departments. We’re thrilled to receive Rural Development acceptance and excited to work with communities, agencies and partners to pursue ARRA stimulus funding opportunities and provide broadband access across the country.”

"Meraki’s cloud-based solution makes it possible for them to deliver affordable high-speed access to their users without requiring large IT or network operations departments. We’re thrilled to receive Rural Development acceptance and excited to work with communities, agencies and partners to pursue ARRA stimulus funding opportunities and provide broadband access across the country," concluded Mr. Biswas in a statement issued July 28.

About Meraki
Meraki offers enterprise-class wireless networks at a fraction of the cost and complexity of traditional networking vendors. This is made possible by its unique cloud-based technology. The company’s customers range from K-12 schools, to small and medium-sized businesses to world-class educational institutions. Meraki wireless networks serve millions of users on over 12,000 networks in more than 140 countries. Meraki is located in San Francisco, California, and is funded in part by Sequoia Capital and Google















StimulatingBroadband.com

Monday, October 19, 2009

Minnesota Broadband Stimulus: Gov. Pawlenty's Administration Says State Funding Recommendation to Feds Is "Not Public Document"

An Exclusive Breaking News Report from StimulatingBroadband.com
StimulatingBroadband.com 10/19/09 San Francisco - The Administration of Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) informed this publication today that the communication issued by a state agency to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) relative to the Administration's funding priorities for federal broadband stimulus projects in Minnesota is not considered a "public document."

I
n an e-mail of 10/19, Ms. Diane Wells, the Manager of the Telecommunications Division of the Minnesota Department of Commerce stated:

"Minnesota has undertaken its BTOP evaluation process following guidelines the state has for reviewing RFPs. Under that process, the results of our evaluation would not be made publicly available until the completion of the full process, which for purposes of the BTOP broadband grants, we have defined as when the NTIA issues the awards. Thus the recommendation from Minnesota to the NTIA is not a public document at this time."
Directive from State Department of Administration
According to a staff attorney in the Minnesota Department of Commerce, the sequestering of the state's recommendation document to the NTIA, and of the review process that generated the submittal to the federal agency, was directed by the the Minnesota Department of Administration. The Department, headed by Commissioner Sheila Reger, a Pawlenty appointee, acts as a central services arm of government.

Responding to our inquiry of earlier today, Mr. Alberto Quintela Jr., an attorney in the Minnesota Department of Commerce stated in an e-mail:

“The Minnesota Department of Commerce has been informed by the Minnesota Department of Administration that, pursuant to Minn. Stat. 13.591, subd.4 (2008), documents generated in response to the NTIA’s communication to the states on the opportunity to comment on grant proposals submitted under the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) are protected nonpublic data until completion of the federal evaluation process and the awards are made, at which time the data are public with the exception of trade secret data as defined and classified in Minn. Stat. 13.37 (2008)"

A Preliminary Legal View: FOIA Applicable?
Washington DC-based broadband and telecom attorney Jeneba Jalloh Ghatt of the Ghatt Law Group gave us her strategic assessment of the Pawlenty Administration's sequestering of Minnesota's federal recommendations:

 "At the outset, the state of Minnesota has to realize that others have elected to release their rankings. Given that it was never a secret and was quite "public" that NTIA sought the rankings from all of the states in the first place, it is unclear why the ultimate rankings would be considered "non public". It is also unclear whether Minnesota can keep the letter hidden for long," wrote Ms. Ghatt.

 "The Federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requires agencies to release documents to the public upon a written request so long as the document doesn't fall within nine exceptions to the FOIA law. To my knowledge, I do not know what in Minnesota's letter would be so different from other states' letters that would fall under one of those exceptions or make it "non public." The only roadblock to getting the letter perhaps would be that the FOIA law gives agencies two weeks to reply and by then NTIA may well have announced all of the final awards."

 "At bottom, the reluctance to release the letters is apposite to the atmosphere of openness and transparency that was obvious in all of the required disclosures in the BTOP and BIP applications and how the Obama Administration has been with stimulus dollars spending. At top, the decision to treat the NTIA response as non-public fuels a growing debate over whether States preferred public and government projects over private ones. It would appear that Minnesota could be shielding its rankings from the same type of criticisms other states are facing," concluded attorney Ghatt.

Ongoing Inquiries
We have placed further inquiries, to agencies and elected officials in St. Paul and Washington, relative to this issue. We will continue to update this story as we receive follow-on information and conduct further research into the applicable federal and state laws and regulations.


Resources: StimulatingBroadband.com's State - NTIA Filings
 1. Our compilation of documents from other states which have issued their recommendations to NTIA may be read and downloaded here (free registration), via our corporate site.



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

Alaska Broadband Stimulus: Gov. Parnell Chooses 'Not to Priortize or Recommend' Broadband Projects for Feds

StimulatingBroadband.com 10/19/09 San Francisco - Alaska Governor Sean Parnell (R-AK), in a 7 page filing transmitted to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) last week, stated his choice "not to prioritize or recommend particular Alaska applications" for federal broadband stimulus funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).

Of the 15 state broadband stimulus recommendation filings to NTIA that we have reviewed from around the country to date, StimulatingBroadband.com has found that Governor Parnell's communication to the agency, a branch of the U.S. Department of Commerce, is the only such submittal from a state which chooses not to make ranked recommendations for specific projects.

The governor, in his letter dated October 13, pointed to NTIA's change in the rules, under its Broadband Technology Opportunity Program (BTOP), for state review procedure and sequencing as the central reason for his state's choice not to make prioritized recommendations at this time. His letter states "under the NTIA's original plan for the BTOP application process, the NTIA was going to complete a technical review of all the applications, and then ask states to comment only on the applications that passed technical scrutiny and ranked as the most promising applications."

Gov. Parnell goes on to write in his letter (see: Resources, below) "the 29 BTOP applications that would primarily serve Alaska include many projects that would substantially improve broadband access across the state" and acknowledges "Alaska has the largest unserved and undeserved geographic area of any state in the nation."

Governor Sean Parnell, a 47 year old attorney, was sworn in as Alaska's twelfth governor on July 26 of this year following the resignation of former governor Sarah Palin (R-AK). Palin was famously the Republican nominee for Vice President in 2008. She is now pursuing her own broadband-enabled strategy of using her Facebook updates as her near exclusive means of public communications, according to Chris Cillizza's The Fix column in today's Washington Post. Parnell was elected Lieutenant Governor on the Republican Palin - Parnell ticket in 2006. He has declared his intention to seek reelection as governor in 2010.

Resources: StimulatingBroadband.com's State - NTIA Filings
1. The Alaska filing (7 pages) issued to NTIA may be read and downloaded here (free registration), via our corporate site.

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

Oregon Broadband Stimulus: Gov. Kulongoski Recommends 10 Projects to NTIA

StimulatingBroadband.com 10/18/09 San Francisco - Oregon Governor Theodore R. "Ted" Kulongoski (D-OR) has recommended 10 broadband projects from his state to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) of the U.S. Department of Commerce, for funding under Round I of the federal broadband stimulus program.

According to the transmittal letter, dated October 10, from the Governor to NTIA Administrator Lawrence Strickling, the state selected the 10 projects from among the "93 applications (that) touched Oregon, with 67 applicants providing their proposals and 22 projects focused on Oregon."

The task force appointed by Kulongoski established and used 5 key metrics to evaluate the reviewed project proposals:

1. Expanding the Provision of Tele-health and Telemedicine
2. Educational Opportunities through Distance Learning
3. Impacts to Commerce and Economic Development through Job Growth
4. Expanding Public Safety in Rural Areas
5. Expanding E-Government

Resources: StimulatingBroadband.com's State - NTIA Filings
1. The Oregon filing (27 pages) issued to NTIA may be read and downloaded here (free registration), via our corporate site.

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

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Pennsylvania Broadband Stimulus: Administration of Governor Rendell Sends Funding Priorities to Washington

StimulatingBroadband.com 10/18/09 San Francisco - The state Administration Office of Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell (D-PA) last week recommended to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) that 24 projects applied for in the Keystone State receive federal funding under Round I of the broadband stimulus program of the Recovery Act.

Of the 24 named projects recommended to Washington, 13 were given the designation "Highly Recommend," while another 11 were assigned the "Support" category. The projects recommended to NTIA were from a total group of "roughly 130 applications that aim to serve some part of the commonwealth", according to the recommendation letter, dated, October 14, and signed by Rendell's Secretary of Administration, Naomi Wyatt.

Resources: StimulatingBroadband.com's State - NTIA Filings
1. The Pennsylvania filing (4 pages) issued to NTIA may be read and downloaded here (free registration), via our corporate site.

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

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Alabama Broadband Stimulus: Gov. Riley Recommends 41 Projects to NTIA

StimulatingBroadband.com 10/17/09 San Francisco - Alabama Governor Bob Riley (R-AL), in documents filed (see: Resources, below) with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) on October 14, chose 41 projects from his state for funding recommendations under Round I of the federal broadband stimulus program.

Riley endorsed and passed onto NTIA the findings of the Alabama Broadband Initiative Review Committee, the members of which he appointed, in making the favorable recommendations for the 41 projects from among the total of 130 projects filed by applicants throughout the state. The Committee, part of the Alabama Broadband Initiative (ALBI) launched in January by the Governor, followed general guidelines that took into consideration "...the project’s purpose, benefits, viability, budget and sustainability."

The Committee also ranked projects based on their ability to "best address infrastructure gaps in the state's unserved areas, will enhance and/or expand service offerings in underserved areas, will expand the use of broadband technology to better serve our citizenry and will provide public access to computers in underserved communities."

ALBI, headed by Director Kathy Johnson is a two year program targeting the rural counties of the state, that form the majority of county jurisdictions, for ubiquitous broadband deployment.

Resources: StimulatingBroadband.com's State - NTIA Filings
1. The Alabama filing (5 pages) and cover letter (1 page) issued to NTIA may be read and downloaded here (free registration), via our corporate site.


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

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Texas Broadband Stimulus: State Ag Commissioner Recommends Projects to NTIA

Office of Texas Agriculture Commissioner via StimulatingBroadband.com 10/15/09 AUSTIN, TX - Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples announced today the Texas Department of AgriculturePublic Utility Commission of Texas (PUC) are supporting 63 applicants that are seeking a total of $793 million in funds from the federal Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP).

Gov. Perry designated TDA, in partnership with PUC and in consultation with the Texas Public Safety Commission (PSC), to lead the state's broadband deployment initiatives and represent the interests of Texas to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).

and the

"The projects we are supporting, if funded, will assist in bringing broadband and high-speed Internet to all Texans," Commissioner Staples said.

"It is essential our families, rural schools, hospitals and small businesses have fast access to the information superhighway if we are going to maintain a competitive advantage in Texas, and these project recommendations are a step toward ensuring that."

"The availability of high-speed Internet service is vital for all Texans and an important tool for economic development," said Commissioner Donna Nelson of the Public Utility Commission. "These funding opportunities have the potential to create more jobs."

More than 170 Texas and Texas-related project applications requesting approximately $3.3 billion were submitted for federal funding and reviewed under three categories: infrastructure, which includes construction of broadband delivery equipment; public computer centers, which increase public access to education and workforce development opportunities; and sustainable adoption, to educate Texans about the importance of broadband and develop broadband markets in unserved and underserved areas.

In identifying applications to recommend, TDA and PUC established a rigorous screening process and recruited a team of approximately 40 highly qualified individuals to review the applications. Projects were screened for the ability to extend broadband service to unserved and underserved populations; reasonableness of the proposed cost of service; sustainability; the level of service to be provided; and the ability to address the policy goals of the State of Texas, BTOP and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

In July 2009, NTIA announced the availability of up to $1.4 billion for broadband expansion through BTOP and subsequently received more than $9.8 billion in funding requests. NTIA sought input from Texas on those applications affecting the state. The applications TDA and PUC recommended have a total cost of approximately $793 million. The state agencies are also requesting NTIA thoroughly review all proposals affecting Texas to ensure maximum investment in the state.

Texas' recommendations demonstrate the state's priorities in strategically deploying broadband to all Texans. NTIA is responsible for reviewing applications for financial, technical and administrative viability and sustainability. The assistant secretary of NTIA will determine the final grant awards. Federal officials have not given a timetable for when they will announce their funding decisions.

StimulatingBroadband.com's State - NTIA Resources:
1. The Texas filing (3 pages) issued to NTIA may be read and downloaded here (free registration), via our corporate site.

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

Michigan Broadband Stimulus: Gov. Granholm Gives State's Funding Priorities to Feds


Office of Gov. Granholm via StimulatingBroadband.com 10/15/09 LANSING, MI - Governor Jennifer M. Granholm (D-MI) today announced an important step to implement her strategic initiative to expand access to broadband services to citizens and businesses throughout Michigan.

On Wednesday, the state submitted comments to the federal government on grant applications proposing to implement or enhance broadband service to Michigan communities. The grants, administered by the U.S. Department of Commerce National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), are funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act).

States were provided the opportunity to comment on applications that meet the greatest broadband needs and provide the greatest possible benefits to their states. The NTIA will review all applications submitted nationwide and determine which will receive funding.


"Five years ago, we announced a key strategic initiative in our efforts to diversify Michigan's economy: extending high speed Internet access to every corner of the state," said Granholm.

"These Recovery Act dollars will allow us to build the broadband infrastructure necessary to connect every community and give access to faster, more reliable Internet service to citizens, businesses, units of government, schools and public safety providers from Marquette to Monroe and everywhere in between."

The Recovery Act made $7.2 billion available to two federal agencies to fund competitive grants and loans to improve broadband access in communities across the nation. From this total, $4.7 billion will be awarded by the NTIA in grants for building broadband infrastructure, increasing public computer center capacity, funding sustainable broadband adoption programs, and implementing detailed state broadband mapping. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Utilities Service (RUS) will use the remaining $2.5 billion to fund loans and grants to communities for expanding broadband infrastructure.

Funding by both agencies will be awarded through two rounds of competitive grants.
The state of Michigan worked with a team of statewide stakeholders to develop a framework for expanding broadband access in Michigan.

The team identified four key project goals:
- Expand and upgrade broadband service to unserved and underserved populations across the state; - Transform Michigan's economic competitiveness by making affordable broadband accessible to any business in the state; - Ensure a better, more efficient government for the 21st century; - Strengthen Michigan's ability to monitor borders and critical infrastructure.

The projects identified in the governor's letter to the NTIA as key to the implementation of the state's strategic goals would bring broadband access to 66 percent of current unserved households and 68 percent of unserved businesses across the state. In announcing today's input, Granholm also reiterated the state's commitment to making access available to every citizen in the state.

"When we launched our broadband plan in 2004, we likened it to the effort 55 years ago to build a great bridge linking our two peninsulas. Our broadband plan is every bit as transformational, allowing us to link every community in our state to economic opportunity," said Granholm. "Broadband will be this generation's Mackinac Bridge."


StimulatingBroadband.com's State - NTIA Resources:
1. The Michigan filing (2 pages) issued to NTIA may be read and downloaded here (free registration), via our corporate site.

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