Broadband Stimulus Rules Change for 2nd Round as NTIA, RUS Split Up


  by Ed Gubbins    January 15th, 2010

The NTIA and RUS are issuing separate rules for the second round of broadband stimulus funding, worth $4.8 billion.

The NTIA is allocating $2.6 billion in funding during the next round, of which $2.35 billion will go to infrastructure projects, with a focus on what the NTIA calls “comprehensive community” proposals: “middle-mile broadband projects that connect key community anchor institutions – such as libraries, hospitals, community colleges, universities, and public safety institutions,” the NTIA said.

RUS, meanwhile, will distribute $2.2 billion, with a focus on last-mile projects. It will also add “support” for satellite-based proposals, but only in areas that are left unserved after other funds are awarded.

The separation of the two entities’ efforts is good in the sense that it may simplify and streamline the application and distribution process for the second round, industry consultant Craig Settles told Connected Planet. The two groups could then more closely follow the methods they’ve used historically rather than trying to reach agreement on common practices.

But it could pose dilemmas for stimulus hopefuls that have already applied. Those who haven’t heard a response yet from their first-round proposal will wonder if they should stick with that bet or apply anew in the second round with whichever of the two agencies they consider more likely to approve their request.

As with the first round, time is of the essence. All applications are due March 15. Winners will be announced by the end of September. And this is the last round of broadband stimulus funding.

For a condensed but still detailed summary of the new rules changes go to:

http://blog.connectedplanetonline.com/unfiltered/2010/01/15/broadband-stimulus-rules-change-for-2nd-round-as-ntia-rus-split-up/

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