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."
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