Thursday, September 30, 2010

Arizona Nevada Tower Co. Awarded $7.75 Million in Broadband Stimulus Funds

From Dawsonville to Rhyolite: Last Award in National Broadband Stimulus Program Issued by USDA for Rural Nevada 09/30/2010 San Francisco - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the funding of a new Recovery Act broadband infrastructure project and a technical assistance grant to a Las Vegas based company which will build out wireless infrastructure in portions rural Nevada.

The announcement marks the final award in the $7.2 billion signature technology program of the Administration of President Barack Obama. Awards under the program were first issued via an on-the-ground announcement by Vice President Joe Biden in Dawsonville, Georgia on December 17, 2009.

Ghost Town of Rhyolite, Nye County, Nevada
This $7.75 million award, matched by a $148,500 in private contribution, will allow the Arizona Nevada Tower Corporation (ANTC) to offer microwave radio backbone and middle-mile services to wireless internet service providers (WISPS), anchor institutions and enterprise users via these providers. 

According to a USDA press release issued late morning from Washington, "the project will provide highly reliable and scalable broadband transport to enhance existing fiber-optic cable or where fiber-optic cable is not available to serve users living outside of Washoe and Clark counties."

"Approximately 41,000 people stand to benefit, as do approximately 186 businesses and community institutions in 15 service areas. In addition to the eight jobs the company estimates this project will create, it will provide a foundation for economic growth and job creation for decades to come, said the USDA statement." 

Company representative Kevin Hayes provided the following description of the winning project to this publication:
"Much of Nevada’s population is situated in two metropolitan centers with the remaining citizenry scattered in small rural communities throughout the 110,000 square miles of the state.  These communities have evolved after years of mining & agriculture and are, in large part, far from modern services.  They are significantly underserved in areas of education, medical care, information access, and emergency services, and they lack access to convenient shopping, modern telecommunications, and nearly all the amenities available in urban areas.  Further, business and employment opportunities are hampered by the limitations to broadband Internet access.
Users are relegated to dial up telephone services or held hostage by the exorbitant rates and strictly limited services available from satellite providers.  The rapid pace of innovation on the Internet has produced enormous benefits in information exchanges, entertainment, communications, political action, and life-quality services. Development of broadband data access in these areas is an important factor in enhancing education opportunities, and creating further economic development for every community.  Therefore, to WISPs, anchor institutions and enterprise users in fifteen Proposed Funded Service areas (PFSA’s) throughout rural Nevada where it does not exist or is grossly cost prohibitive to access today. Five PFSA’s in Nye County, four in Lyon, three in Mineral, two in Esmeralda, and one PFSA in Lander County will be directly served, while several other communities that lack the anchor institutions necessary to qualify them as an eligible PFSA under the guidance of the BIP Round 2 NOFA will have ready access to the system.
Utilizing cutting edge LTE/WiMax ready technology, the system will provide highly reliable and scalable broadband transport to enhance existing but limited fiber-optic cable or provide transport where fiber-optic cable is currently unavailable.  The network has a focus on community anchor institutions.  Thus, 186 Critical Care Facilities (CCF’s) and Public Safety Facilities (PSF’s) will have access to significantly discounted (and in many cases, free (please refer to the MOU packet included in ANTC’s application) bandwidth in every PFSA.  Additionally, more than 16,500 premises will have access to the system through services provided by startup or existing local ISP’s accessing wholesale bandwidth from the proposed network.
Further, with interoperability at its core, wireless telephone carriers, public safety providers, local television and radio translators, educational content providers and enterprise users will finally have access to the infrastructure needed to radically enhance communications, public safety, and quality of life for thousands of residents and millions of travelers to a level that could never be accomplished without RUS BIP funding."

Willard Telephone in Colorado Gets $800k in Broadband Stimulus Funds for FTTH Net 09/30/2010 San Francisco - Secretary Tom Vilsack of the U.S. Department of Agriculture today announced the funding of a new Recovery Act broadband infrastructure project in rural Willard, Colorado.  The award, for $791,947, will be matched locally by $245,510 in private funding.

The federal funds will issue to The Willard Telephone Company in order to upgrade its facilities to offer Fiber to the Home (FTTH) in the Willard Community, a very rural community in northeastern Colorado which the USDA calls "non-designated".

According to a press release of this morning from Vilsack's office "The network stands to benefit approximately 1,900 people, eight businesses, a fire department, and two military facilities, all of which lack high-speed Internet access. The project will cover 132 square miles with 93 miles of fiber-optic cable. This area of farm and ranch land has an average density of 0.7 premises per square mile. In addition to the 11 jobs the company estimates this project will create, it will provide a foundation for economic growth and job creation for decades to come."

Windstream Gets Another Broadband Stimulus Win, For Central Arkansas

Communities to be Served Identified by Carrier 09/30/2010 San Francisco - Winstream Communications (Nasdaq: WIN), the Little Rock based rural local exchange carrier (RLEC), today was awarded $7.3 million award in broadband stimulus funds from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for an area in Central Arkansas.

According to a statement rleased earlier today by USDA, the $7.3 million in federal package will be secured by a local match of $2.4 million from Windstream to "allow The Windstream Corporation to provide digital telephone, high-speed Internet and high-definition video and entertainment services to residential and business customers." 

"The network stands to benefit approximately 15,000 people, more than 330 businesses and 33 anchor institutions that otherwise may never enjoy the benefits of broadband. In addition to the 122 jobs created or retained, the company estimates this project will create, it will provide a foundation for economic growth and job creation for decades to come," said the statement issued by the Office of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

Company spokesman Scott Morris detailed for us the 13 Central Arkansas communities which will be served with new broadband infrastructure thanks to the USDA award: Crossett (Ashley Co.), Harrison (Boone Co.), Sheeridan (Grant Co.), Green Forest (Carroll Co.), Quitman (Cleburne Co.), Dalark (Dallas Co.), Greenbriar (Faulkner Co.), Mulberry (Franklin Co.), Bigelow and Perryville (Perry Co.), West Fork and Elkins (Washington Co.), and Wye in Pulaski County.  Each of these communities is currently served by a Windstream exchange in which broadband service is not available, according to the statement to us by Mr. Morris.

Windstream successfully used its congressional delegation representing its extensive rural footprint to work to change the rules for Round2 of the Department of Agriculture's part of the broadband stimulus program. The carrier, like large LECs AT&T (NYSE: T) and Verizon (NYSE: VZ), were loudly critical of the rules for Round1 of the program that were jointly issued in July of 2009 by the USDA's Rural Utilities Service (RUS) and the Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).

Digital Bridge Wins $2.63 Million in USDA Broadband Funds for Mississippi

EVP Wallace Says DBC Looks Ahead to New USDA Funding 09/30/2010 San Francisco UPDATE at 6:00 PM (EDT) - Kicking off today's final roll out of awards under the Obama Administration's broadband stimulus program is a $2.63 grant / loan package to the Digital Bridge Corporation (DBC) for a wireless network build in northern Mississippi.  All of today's awards are being issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Utilities Service (RUS). 

"This $2.63 million award will allow The Digital Bridge Corporation to bring affordable, fourth-generation broadband services to rural portions of Panola and Quitman Counties lacking high-speed access," according to press release of this morning from the Office of U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.  "The network stands to benefit approximately 18,200 people, more than 1,300 businesses, and 87 community institutions where 74 percent of the premises are without high-speed access. The project will cover 191 square miles. In addition to the six jobs created or retained, the company estimates this project will create, it will provide a foundation for economic growth and job creation for decades to come."

DBC's Wallace Applauds Award, Ramps for New USDA Investments
"This is great news for the 18,000 Mississippi residents and 1,300 businesses who will experience the benefits of  4G mobile broadband when we deploy over the next 6-9 months," said William Wallace, the Co-founder and Executive Vice Presient of the company. "This award comes after DBC received one other RUS round 2 award in Indiana and three NTIA round 1 awards in Idaho--reflecting support by both agencies for WiMAX, a proven 4G technology that is deployed rapidly and maximizes the number of households receiving broadband per network dollar."

Looking ahead to the future of federal rural telecom support now that the stimulus funding has been awarded, Wallace said, "We will be applying for additional funding near our existing markets through RUS Farm Bill and other economic development programs."

Good News for WiMAX Gear Maker Alvarion
Sources have confirmed for that today's announcement is a simultaneous win for Alvarion, Ltd. (NASDAQ: ALVR) the WiMAX gear maker headquartered in Tel Aviv with extensive U.S. operations. Alvarion has issued prior announcements of its supply agreements with DBC. 
In a USDA statement, having nothing specifically to do with Digital Bridge, that has been appended to all award announcements following the "clawback" of the only award under the $7.2 billion program, a funding rescission triggered by the reporting of this publication, "Funding is contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of the loan, grant or loan/grant agreement." 

Alert: USDA Now Releasing Last Broadband Stimulus Awards

USDA Confirms Awards Still Rolling at 5:00 PM (EDT) 09/30/2010 San Francisco Updated at 5:25 PM (EDT) - The U.S. Department of Agriculture has this morning started to release its last group of awards made under the federal broadband stimulus program.

Update: According to a USDA spokesperson at 5:01 PM (EDT) today, the awards, with 4 issued so far are still rolling out.  We have no information as to the estimated time of the final announcement from USDA headquarters in Washington

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced this morning the award of $2.63 million to The Digital Bridge Corporation, a WiMAX enabled rural wireless carrier headquartered in Ashburn, VA, for Panola and Quittman Counties in Mississippi.

An authorized USDA spokesman has confirmed for that additional award announcements are now rolling out from Agriculture's offices in Washington.   
Under federal law all of the $7.2 billion in broadband stimulus funds, minus the $302 million rescission which Congress issued against the NTIA-BTOP side of the program in August, must be awarded by midnight tonight. 

USDA spokesman Bart Kendrick confirmed for us again this morning a statement given us on Tuesday of this week that "we continue to be on track to complete all announcements by the deadline."

Loan Leverage Rate Comes Into View
The exact dollar amount to be awarded by USDA's Rural Utilities Service (RUS) is difficult to accurately estimate.  USDA-RUS is given authority under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) to do something all important that its sister agency administering the broadband stimulus program at Commerce is not allowed to: engage in loan leverage.

As Kendrick described in response to our question 2 days ago, "getting the final numbers is not so easy as when you make only grants.  We will be in a better position to answer the question  in the coming week."  As he suggested, that loan leverage rate question is now being more finely answered in the Vilsack statement of this morning.

As part of the Secretary's statement, USDA says "by leveraging $2.5 billion in Recovery Act funding authorized by Congress, USDA has been able to provide loans and grants of $3.6 billion."

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

$50 Million San Francisco Area Stimulus Public Safety Grant Begs for Thorough Review

San Francisco City Agency that Managed Selection Process for Motorola: Staffed by Ex-Motorola Employees 09/29/2010 San Francisco – The City of San Francisco has produced what is fast becoming regarded as the most controversial, problematic, and potentially illegal broadband stimulus award under the entire $7.2 billion federal program.

San Francisco City Hall
The local selection process which resulted in Motorola, Inc. (now Motorola Solutions, Inc.; NYSE: MSI) receiving a $50 million federal broadband stimulus grant on behalf of public safety agencies in the San Francisco Bay Area reveals questionable public procurement practices.

These problems are pointed to by the chief executives of the 2 largest governments in the region, as they call for suspension of the federal project award. It appears however that neither of the 2 current reviews of the award, 1 federal and 1 state, is scoped or resourced to examine the fundamental flaws evident in the selection process.

Largest Area Jurisdictions Call for Grant Suspension and Review by Sec. Locke
San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed and Santa Clara County Executive Jeffrey Smith petitioned U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, in a letter dated September 8, to suspend the award to Motorola. As first reported in the San Jose Business Journal (09/09) and in Urgent Communications (09/10), Reed and Smith called for the suspension “until concerns regarding the procurement and vendor selection process have been addressed and well understood.”  In words that should be red flags to any public official, the two wrote, “The process utilized to select the vendor for this project does not reflect our standard for accepted procurement practices.”

On September 3, Ken Gordon, the interim technology director in the Administration of Mayor Ronald V. Dellums in the City of Oakland sent a letter to the San Francisco city agency questioning the process as well. Thus, 3 large jurisdictions, with a combined population of some 2.2 million have challenged the federal grant.

Bay Area UASI 
Questioning is focused on an agency called the Bay Area Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) and its Executive Director, Laura Phillips. The agency, a part of the Department of Emergency Management (DEM) of the City and County of San Francisco, cobbled together the selection of Motorola to act on behalf of the area governments and support of the firm’s application to NTIA through to the $50.593 million BayWEB project award issued on August 18th. The 94 awards released that day included for the first time 5 public safety projects, which, like the Motorola award, were all for 700 MHz LTE broadband emergency interoperable wireless networks.  

Phillips was a government affairs executive for Motorola, a position she held for the prior 2 years.  Previously she had served for 9 years as the tech services head of the City of Sunnyvale’s public safety agency.

A Semi-Autonomous Agency Staffed with Ex-Motorola Employees
UASI operates as a semi-autonomous unit within DEM and in the larger government headed by Mayor Newsom. In speaking with several line managers at City Hall, we could not find a City employee able to state if, or by whom, the BayWEB selection process of Motorola had been vetted or overseen for procurement compliance purposes.

In addition to Executive Director Phillips, 3 other key employees of UASI are also former employees of Motorola, the Schaumberg, IL based wireless equipment manufacturer generally seen by analysts as holding 80% of the public safety market in the U.S.  This group of 4 ex-Motorola employees together has over 45 years of service with the company.  Within UASI, Clement Ng, Jeff Blau, and Michelle Geddes form the core of the management team that had control of the day to day processes that resulted in the selection of the company. Phillips hired all 3 of the ex-Motorola employees following her appointment to head UASI by Newsom.

Questionable Procurement Process Detailed
The substance of the counter arguments made by Phillips in her response to Mayor Reed of September16, is that UASI conducted a “selection process” which had what she is calling a Request for Proposals (RFP) at its core.

Issued February 1, the 1.5 page document emailed to 8 vendor representatives that had responded to an earlier Request for Proposals (RFI) is not titled as an RFP.  The document does not at all meet the standards for detail, public notice, nor published evaluation criteria common to public sector procurement practice. Typically a RFP for a $50 million project would run into scores of pages, be legally advertised, have a pre-bidders conference, and be open to all interested participants.

The email was signed by Clement Ng, the ex-Motorola employee now at USAI. Several vendor and regional officials we spoke with described the Request for Information (RFI) issued on September 29, 2009 as being publically noticed, widely available, and detailed in scope.  “It was up on a City purchasing web site, clear as day,” one vendor rep told us “what they are now calling the RFP was never posted, nor even described as a formal document.  How can that be right, for a $50 million federal procurement?”

Michelle McGurk, Mayor Reed’s press spokesman and senior policy advisor, stated to us, “San Jose uses generally practiced procurement methods and have added additional process integrity standards, such as conflict of interest screening, transparency, lobbying periods, etc. For a multi-million dollar contract, the city would undergo a transparent RFP process with clear guidelines posted on our website and approval made in a public session of the City Council.” 

McGurk underlines the central point in this entire issue, “We are not sure what procurement guidelines were followed in the creation of this partnership with Motorola. The Bay Area BTOP proposal did not go through the Bay Area UASI Approval Authority for approval prior to or after submitting the grant proposal (San Jose is a voting member). The partnership is with another entity, the BayRICS Policy Group, which appears to be staffed by UASI staff.” 

Updates will continue to report on this troubling story.  We will update later today with recent information on: 1. The review of the project by a California state agency. 2. Federal and state public records requests filed by others and by ourselves. 3. One senior and independently elected official of San Francisco whose office has notified us of a recent determination that the BayWEB selection matter should be further looked at, via some level of examination in the local jurisdiction.

Broadband Round 2 Proposal Solicitation

The BayWEB Examination is our compendium of information on the project. We believe it is the most comprehensive such collection available. We have assembled links to all media coverage of the issue, to online documents secured by us from confidential and open sources, to documents secured by others and by this publication under federal and state public records filings, and to our own published reporting.

Note on awardee identification: The project grant was applied for by, and subsequently awarded to, the entity Motorola, Inc., formally traded as (NYSE: MOT). Motorola, Inc. was split into 2 new and separate companies, which both began trading on January 5, 2011.  The network infrastructure side of the business, all public safety equipment lines, and the network integration / management services divisions became Motorola Solutions, Inc. (NYSE: MSI). We have retroactively re-tagged our BayWEB stories with the MSI ticker symbol.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Commentary: FCC Convenes Pole Attachment Workshop, Praise the Lord 09/28/2010 San Francisco - For those of us that actually build networks, networks that need to be permitted to use right-of-way, attached to utility poles, or installed in conduit, the Federal Communications Commission actually, finally, really, no kidding did something for us.

This morning the Commission is holding a workshop on the issue of pole attachments, those noisome procedural processes that slow the most agile and well funded network developers to a crawl as we attempt to invest in the nation's infrastructure.

Incumbent utility pole owners meet to plan regulatory strategy in response
to reforms seen in FCC Pole Attachment Order. (Photo Copyright: HBO)
For one brief shining moment today the greatest telecoms regulatory body on the planet will actually, finally talk about reforming the archaic, incumbent protection schema existing in every state in the Union called pole attachment policies.The Commission recently completed the public reply comment period for its pole attachment Order and Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, issued in May. Today's workshop brings together Commission staff and stakeholders to talk about implementation, and to no doubt listen to the inevitable grousing from the incumbent pole owners. 

If you don't get the importance of this stuff you can't really say you understand the U.S. telecom sector.  Without full throated pole attachment reform advocates in Washington, and in front of every PUC in the nation a ubiquitous wired and wireless broadband future for American doesn't get done. Oh, and yes, the regulators actually will need to actually, finally, really implement reform, especially in those states where the regulators are prone to say things like "How high?" when the incumbents say "Jump."

Think this stuff doesn't matter, that we all just need to fight hammer and tong about net neutrality sometime into the next century in order to get a real digital infrastructure like that? Think about this:  If the old pre-Divestiture Bell operating companies had their way, cable television companies would still be stringing cable up in the hills of Pennsylvania, and only in the hills of Pennsylvania. The Kafkaesque pole attachment policies of the telcos were always their first line of defense in trying to do just that - stifle the greatest competitor the ossified incumbents ever had, the cable industry.

We continue to think that anachronistic pole and conduit attachment procedures and regulations in many states will be the next significant gating factor in preventing lagging broadband stimulus monies from flowing into the construction spending pipelines.  We mentioned this over a year ago, and now see some of it, unfortunately coming to fruition.  We applaud the handful of state broadband programs, with Massachusetts in the lead, that have flagged this specific issue for the Commission. We stand up and cheer for the leadership shown by Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA-14) and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) as they have filed legislation requiring federal highway projects to make provisions for pre-installed conduit banks.   

Going forward, we might even wink and give a pass to some of our favorite governors that are doing deals with some of the worst offenders in the nation to get their BTOP middle mile projects moving, without engaging in actual reform through the regulators they appoint.  Maybe.

For now, those of us that really, no kidding put fiber in the ground and up in the air can do a little rejoicing that there is a FCC that gets this stuff. In the weeks ahead we will roll out analysis, commentary, and tracking of action on attachment reform in the states -- that is the real secret sauce in all this.  Will a critical mass of states follow the Commission's lead and finally demand incumbent pole and conduit owners join the 21st century?   We'll have attorneys experienced in the tough work of supporting network builds in some of the most challenging jurisdictions in the nation lay out the action for us.  

We promise that our legal analysts and regulatory strategists will have high levels of recognized professional expertise that goes beyond our adolescent comparison of incumbent pole owners to members of New Jersey organized crime families -- not to insult members of New Jersey organized crime families.

Monday, September 27, 2010

NTIA Issues Final $190 Million in State Broadband Data Funding

NTIA Press Release via 09/27/2010 San Francisco - The Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) today announced 56 investments totaling $190 million to support state efforts to compete in the digital economy. These are the final awards in the State Broadband Data and Development (SBDD) grant program, funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Broadband map of area of Jefferson Co., FL.
Courtesy: Broadband Consulting Group., Inc.
“As Congress recognized, many communities are being left behind in the 21st Century economy and need improved broadband access and adoption to compete,” said Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information and NTIA Administrator Lawrence E. Strickling.

“Each state has unique broadband challenges, and these investments will support solutions developed by the states to harness the power of technology so that local businesses can thrive and residents can enjoy a better quality of life.”

The 50 states, five territories, and the District of Columbia will use this funding to support the efficient and creative use of broadband technology to improve their economies. These state-created efforts vary depending on local needs but include programs to assist small businesses and community institutions in using technology more effectively, research to investigate barriers to broadband adoption, innovative applications that increase access to government services and information, and state and local task forces to expand broadband access and adoption.  

As examples of these diverse state-driven projects:
Massachusetts will provide technical assistance to small businesses and non-profit organizations to help them improve operations through broadband and technology use.

Pennsylvania plans to research barriers to the use of broadband by manufacturers and to examine the impact of broadband use on the competiveness of this sector.

In Florida, technology teams will provide hardware and network assessments to public libraries, enabling them to provide faster and more reliable Internet service to the public.

Arkansas plans to expand online county government services, particularly in rural communities, allowing residents to access these services from their homes.

Colorado plans to organize a state-wide broadband task force to promote the growth of distance learning and to implement and assess the impact of several pilot projects.

North Carolina will leverage years of experience to expand its broadband planning teams into more communities, driving broadband- and technology-based economic development.
Launched in 2009, NTIA’s State Broadband Data and Development grant program implements the joint purposes of the Recovery Act and the Broadband Data Improvement Act (BDIA), which envisioned a comprehensive program, led by state entities or non-profit organizations working at their direction, to facilitate the integration of broadband and information technology into state and local economies. Economic development, energy efficiency, and advances in education and health care rely not only on broadband infrastructure, but also on the knowledge and tools to leverage that infrastructure.

Since accurate data is critical for broadband planning, another purpose of the grant program is to assist states in gathering data twice a year on the availability, speed, and location of broadband services, as well as the broadband services that community institutions, such as schools, libraries and hospitals, use. This data will be used by NTIA to update a searchable, interactive national broadband map once it is completed by the agency by February 17, 2011. NTIA originally funded state data collection and validation efforts for a two-year period; with today’s announcement, grantees will be able to continue these efforts for an additional three years.

The Recovery Act provided up to $350 million for implementation of the BDIA and to develop and maintain the national broadband map. All 56 states, territories, and the District of Columbia (or their designated entities) were eligible for funding through the SBDD grant program to support these goals. NTIA previously awarded funding to 54 of the entities for initial activities. When combined with today’s announcement, NTIA has awarded a total of $293 million in grants among all 56 eligible entities.  

The following awards, which are supplements to the existing grants, are announced today.

Alabama:  The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs is awarded $2,977,819.

Alaska:  Connected Nation, the designated entity on behalf of the State of Alaska, is awarded $4,457,388.

American Samoa: The American Samoa Government is awarded $842,915.

Arizona: The Arizona Government Information Technology Agency is awarded $4,064,606.

Arkansas: Connect Arkansas is awarded $4,094,128.*

California: The California Public Utilities Commission is awarded $5,637,544.

Colorado: The Colorado Governor’s Office of Information Technology is awarded $3,273,107.

Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands: The Office of the Governor is awarded a grant in the amount of $1,216,116.**

Connecticut: The Connecticut Department of Public Utility Control is awarded $1,949,169.

Delaware: The Delaware Department of Technology and Information is awarded $1,537,717.

District of Columbia: The District of Columbia Office of the Chief Technology Officer is awarded $2,548,530.

Florida: The Florida Department of Management Services is awarded $6,308,570.

Georgia: The Georgia Technology Authority is awarded $3,036,240.

Guam: One Economy Corporation, the designated entity on behalf of the Territory of Guam, is awarded a grant in the amount of $1,558,950.**

Hawaii: The Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs is awarded $2,400,000.

Idaho: The Puget Sound Center for Teaching, Learning and Technology, the designated entity on behalf of the State of Idaho, is awarded $2,653,857.

Iowa: Connected Nation, the designated entity on behalf of the State of Iowa, is awarded $3,515,682.

Illinois: The Partnership for a Connected Illinois, the designated entity on behalf of the State of Illinois, is awarded $4,709,130.

Indiana: The Indiana Office of Technology is awarded $2,028,497.

Kansas: Connected Nation, the designated entity on behalf of the State of Kansas, is awarded $4,397,431.

Kentucky: The Commonwealth of Kentucky, Office of Technology is awarded $3,213,717.

Louisiana: The Louisiana Division of Administration is awarded $4,961,251.

Maine: The State of Maine’s Connect ME Authority is awarded $3,193,992.

Maryland: The Maryland Broadband Cooperative is awarded $2,754,686.

Massachusetts: The Massachusetts Broadband Institute is awarded $4,093,476.

Michigan: Connected Nation, the designated entity on behalf of the State of Michigan, is awarded $2,989,930.

Minnesota: Connected Nation, the designated entity on behalf of the State of Minnesota, is awarded $2,761,171.

Mississippi: The Mississippi Office of the Governor is awarded $4,997,013.

Missouri: The Missouri Office of Administration is awarded $4,600,000.

Montana: The Montana Department of Commerce is awarded $3,997,914.

Nebraska: The Nebraska Public Service Commission is awarded $3,565,926.

Nevada: Connected Nation, the designated entity on behalf of the State of Nevada, is awarded $2,565,115.

New Hampshire: The University of New Hampshire is awarded $4,377,623.

New Jersey: The New Jersey Office of Information Technology is awarded $2,927,813.

New Mexico: The New Mexico Department of Information Technology is awarded $2,876,905.

New York: The New York State Office of Cyber Security and Critical Infrastructure is awarded $6,375,431.

North Carolina: The Rural Economic Development Center, Inc. (e-NC Authority) is awarded $4,587,122.

North Dakota: The North Dakota Information Technology Department is awarded $2,050,333.

Ohio: The Ohio Office of Information Technology is awarded $5,253,023.

Oklahoma: The Oklahoma Office of State Finance is awarded $1,675,300.

Oregon: The Public Utility Commission of Oregon is awarded $3,550,000.

Pennsylvania: The Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development is
awarded $5,110,628.

Puerto Rico: The Office of the Governor is awarded $1,108,957.

Rhode Island: The Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation is awarded $3,002,127.

South Carolina: Connected Nation, the designated entity on behalf of the State of South Carolina, is awarded $2,293,429.

South Dakota: The South Dakota Bureau of Information and Telecommunications is awarded $3,830,087.

Tennessee: Connected Tennessee is awarded $2,722,118.

Texas: Connected Nation, the designated entity on behalf of the State of Texas, is awarded $4,997,835.

Utah: The Utah Public Service Commission is awarded $3,151,583.

Vermont: The Vermont Center for Geographic Information is awarded $2,345,500.

Virgin Islands: The Virgin Islands Public Finance Authority is awarded $1,714,652.

Virginia: The Center for Innovative Technology, the designated entity on behalf of the State of Virginia, is awarded $5,800,000.

Washington: The Washington State Department of Information Services is awarded $5,098,262.

West Virginia: The West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey is awarded $3,344,507.

Wisconsin: The Public Service Commission of Wisconsin is awarded $2,822,468.

Wyoming: The Puget Sound Center for Teaching, Learning and Technology, the designated entity on behalf of the State of Wyoming, is awarded $2,361,028.

*Connect Arkansas is not affiliated with the national non-profit Connected Nation.

**These two are initial grant awards.

Its a Wrap: Locke Announces Final Broadband Stimulus Awards from Commerce Dept.

Announcement Completes Broadband Stimulus Awards
U.S. Department of Commerce Press Release via 09/27/2010 San Francisco - U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke today announced 14 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act investments to help bridge the technological divide, create jobs, and improve education and public safety in communities across the country. The investments, totaling $206.8 million in grants, are the final awards in a program to increase broadband Internet access and adoption, enhancing the quality of life for Americans and laying the groundwork for sustainable economic growth.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke
“In a globalized 21st century economy, when you don’t have regular access to high-speed Internet, you don’t have access to all the educational, business and employment opportunities it provides,” Locke said. “These critical Recovery Act investments will create jobs and lay the groundwork for long-term sustainable economic growth in communities across America.”

“In total, we are investing in 233 strong projects that reach every state. Most are ‘middle mile’ networks that expand high-speed Internet availability to communities and connect key institutions, such as schools, libraries, and hospitals. This focus allows us to get the biggest bang for every grant dollar by addressing communities’ broadband problems while creating jobs and facilitating sustainable economic growth,” Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information and NTIA Administrator Lawrence E. Strickling said.  “We are also investing in public computer centers and training to help more Americans compete better in today’s workforce.”

The Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and the Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service are administering a nearly $7 billion Recovery Act initiative to expand access to and adoption of broadband services. NTIA is utilizing approximately $4 billion of that funding for the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP), which provides grants to support the deployment of broadband infrastructure, enhance and expand public computer centers, and encourage sustainable adoption of broadband service.
Based on estimates provided by grant recipients, the 233 BTOP projects will: 
  • Fund the installation or upgrade of approximately 120,000 miles of broadband networks, including fiber-optics, wireless, microwave, and other technologies.  Of this amount, approximately 70,000 miles involve construction of new broadband facilities.
  • Provide broadband access to approximately 24,000 community anchor institutions, including schools, libraries, government offices, health care facilities, and public safety entities.  Of these, approximately:

    • 3,000 are healthcare entities, including hospitals, clinics, and physicians’ offices
    • 5,000 are public safety entities, such as first responders, fire, police, and EMS
    • 7,000 are K-12 schools
    • 600 are community colleges
    • 2,000 are libraries
    • 5,000 are government facilities, such as City and County offices, workforce centers, Head Start locations, and other entities providing important benefits to the public
    • 700 are other institutions of higher education, including public universities
  • Deploy middle mile infrastructure in areas with nearly 40 million households and 4 million businesses, many of which will benefit from new or improved broadband service provided by last-mile providers that are able to utilize the new, open infrastructure to extend or upgrade their service for consumer and business customers.
  • Invest in more than 3,500 new or upgraded public computer centers in libraries, schools, community centers and other public locations.
  • Invest in more than 35,000 new or upgraded public computer workstations.
  • Make public computer center workstations and training available to more than 1 million new users.
These anticipated benefits will be realized over the life of each project, which must be substantially complete within two years and fully complete within three years.
According to analysis released by the National Economic Council last year, overall Recovery Act investments in broadband are expected to create tens of thousands of jobs in the near term and expand economic development and job opportunities in communities that would otherwise be left behind in the new knowledge-based economy. 
“NTIA’s work is far from over,” Strickling added. “We will be overseeing these projects to ensure they are completed on schedule and within budget, and deliver the promised benefits to the communities they serve.”

The following are the BTOP grants announced today:

Comprehensive Community Infrastructure awards:
California: Los Angeles Regional Interoperable Communications Systems Authority. This $154.6 million grant will fund deployment of an interoperable wireless public safety broadband network across Los Angeles County to serve more than 80 public safety agencies and up to 34,000 first responders. The network will enable computer-aided dispatch, rapid law enforcement queries, real-time video streaming, medical telemetry and patient tracking, and other uses.

Colorado: Adams County Communications Center, Inc. This $12.1 million grant will fund deployment of an interoperable wireless public safety broadband network in an area that includes Adams County and the Denver International Airport to serve more than 20 public safety agencies and up to 2,000 first responders. The project will enable uses such as HAZMAT database query and records access, criminal checks, airport perimeter security, and emergency runway clearance.

Public Computer Center awards:
California: Monterey County Office of Education. This $3.6 million grant will fund approximately three new and 26 upgraded public computer centers, and 500 new or upgraded workstations, to serve up to an additional 5,000 users each week and provide training for as many as 10,000 residents.

Colorado: Colorado Board of Education. This $2.3 million grant will fund approximately six new and 70 upgraded public computer centers, and 1,200 new or upgraded workstations, to serve up to an additional 21,000 users each week and provide training for as many as 90,000 residents.

Delaware: Delaware Department of State. This $1.9 million grant will fund the upgrade of 32 public computer centers and approximately 50 new workstations to serve up to an additional 1,300 users each week and provide training for as many as 2,000 residents.

Florida: Florida A&M University. This $1.5 million grant will fund a new public computer center with 65 workstations to serve an estimated 2,800 users each week and provide training for as many as 14,500 residents.

Nevada: Lyon County School District. This $745,000 grant will fund six new public computer centers with approximately 120 workstations to serve up to an estimated 1,700 users each week and provide training for as many as 7,500 residents.

New York: Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe. This $642,000 grant will fund five new public computer centers with approximately 60 workstations to serve up to an additional 500 users each week and provide training for as many as 2,700 residents.

Sustainable Broadband Adoption awards:
Arkansas: Connect Arkansas, Inc. This $3.7 million grant will fund training for approximately 2,600 residents, focusing on digital literacy, online entrepreneurship, and access to telehealth services.

California: California Emerging Technology Fund. This $7.1 million grant will fund a project designed to place unemployed residents in IT-industry jobs by training approximately 37,000 people and providing computers to qualified low-income residents who graduate from a broadband training curriculum. 

California: City and County of San Francisco. This $7.9 million grant will fund a project to provide broadband-related training to approximately 8,400 seniors, low-income individuals, and others in economically and socially vulnerable groups.

California, Louisiana, Minnesota, New York, Oregon, and Texas: Portland State University. This $3.3 million grant will fund digital literacy and other training tailored to adult learners. The project intends to train approximately 23,000 people, focusing on economically vulnerable populations, to prepare them for careers in the digital economy.

Michigan: Michigan State University. This $5.2 million grant will fund a project to provide broadband-related training to approximately 3,200 residents, focusing on high school students, displaced workers, and small businesses in 11 cities across the state. One project aim is to prepare displaced former industrial workers for IT jobs.

Washington: Toledo Telephone Company. This $2.1 million grant will fund a project with the Cowlitz Tribe to provide broadband-related training to approximately 750 residents. Qualified residents who complete a training curriculum may receive subsidized equipment and broadband access.
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