Archive for the ‘Broadband Adoption’ Category

NTIA Receives Fewer Applications, $11B in Funding Requests for Round 2

April 9, 2010
4/7/10 at 4:52 PM by Joan Engebretson

The National Telecommunications and Information Agency received less than half the number of applications in the second round of broadband stimulus funding than it did in Round 1.

The total number of applicants in Round 2 was just 867, compared with nearly 1800 in the first round. The biggest drop was in the infrastructure category, for which the NTIA received 355 applications—down from 1090 in the first round.

This was likely a result of new application guidelines, which now prohibit applicants from filing the same project with both the NTIA and the Rural Utilities Service (RUS), the agency that is administering the broadband stimulus program in cooperation with the NTIA. In the first round, applicants for infrastructure funding were allowed to submit the same project to both agencies. Although they were not allowed to receive duplicate funding, the idea was to improve the odds of winning something—and 830 joint applications were made in Round 1.

Despite their reduced numbers, however, infrastructure projects represented the majority of funding requested from the NTIA in the second round—$8.4 billion out of $11 billion total requested. The NTIA has approximately $2.35 billion available for this round for infrastructure applications, with an additional $250 million or more available for non-infrastructure projects, which include sustainable broadband adoption and public computer center projects.

The RUS has not yet announced how many applications it received in the second round. But several carriers — including Qwest, TDS Telecom and Windstream – already have announced that they have applied for RUS funding. An RUS spokesman said the agency expects to release its Round 2 application totals within a few days.

The RUS, which was allotted $2.5 billion to distribute over two rounds, recently said it had completed all awards for Round 1 and has awarded less than half of its total amount to date.


FCC’s National Broadband Plan Released Today

March 16, 2010
3/16/10 at 10:08 AM by Joan Engebretson

The National Broadband Plan, to be released today, focuses on four ways government can help ensure that every American has access to broadband. These include, 1) designing policies to ensure competition; 2) ensuring efficient management of assets such as spectrum and rights of way; 3) reforming the Universal Service Fund to support broadband; and 4) reforming policies to maximize the benefits of broadband in government-influenced sectors. Such sectors include education, health care and government operations.

According to a FCC broadband plan executive summary released yesterday, the plan also will establish six longer-term goals “to serve as a compass over the next decade.” These include:

  • Connect 100 million households to affordable 100-megabits-per-second service, building the world’s largest market of high-speed broadband users and ensuring that new jobs and businesses are created in America.
  • Affordable access in every American community to ultra-high-speed broadband of at least 1 gigabit per second at anchor institutions such as schools, hospitals, and military installations so that America is hosting the experiments that produce tomorrow’s ideas and industries.
  • Ensure that the United States is leading the world in mobile innovation by making 500 megahertz of spectrum newly available for licensed and unlicensed use.
  • Move our adoption rates from roughly 65 percent to more than 90 percent and make sure that every child in America is digitally literate by the time he or she leaves high school.
  • Bring affordable broadband to rural communities, schools, libraries, and vulnerable populations by transitioning existing Universal Service Fund support from yesterday’s analog technologies to tomorrow’s digital infrastructure.
  • Promote competition across the broadband ecosystem by ensuring greater transparency, removing barriers to entry, and conducting market-based analysis with quality data on price, speed, and availability.
  • Enhance the safety of the American people by providing every first responder with access to a nationwide, wireless, interoperable public safety network.

“The National Broadband Plan is a 21st century roadmap to spur economic growth and investment, create jobs, educate our children, protect our citizens and engage in our democracy,” said FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski in announcing the delivery of the plan to Congress. “It’s an action plan, and action is necessary to meet the challenges of global competitiveness and harness the power of broadband to help address so many vital national issues.”

In the coming weeks, we plan to offer much more detail about this plan and its implications fro broadband carriers, large and small. Stay tuned.

FCC’s National Broadband Plan May Cost $25 Billion

March 5, 2010
3/2/10 at 11:10 PM by Bernie Arnason

In about two weeks the FCC is scheduled to deliver a national broadband plan to Congress. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 mandated that the FCC author the plan, with the idea that the billions of dollars that are being allocated to broadband infrastructure should be wisely invested. The broadband stimulus plan allocates $7.2 billion towards the broadband cause. It appears to be a down payment.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the FCC’s national broadband plan will call for an additional $25 billion in spending. Of that $25 billion, approximately half or more will be allocated to a nationwide broadband public safety network for first responders. The FCC hopes to pay for this portion through future wireless spectrum auction proceeds. Additionally, the plan calls for $9 billion in funding for bringing broadband to rural areas. But it’s not entirely clear where that funding will come from.

The universal service fund (USF) is also addressed in the plan. Much of its current $8 billion budget would be reallocated towards broadband service, away from its current legacy phone service focus. The FCC believes it can clean up significant waste in the current USF, allowing it to address its new broadband mission without significant increases in its budget. Determining and rooting out this so called waste should be an interesting process to watch.

The Wall Street Journal also reports that large ISPs (cable and telco) will probably be happy with the plan, as it won’t force their hand on much. That’s not surprising. As I wrote this post (in approximately 30 minutes or so) in suburban Washington D.C., I counted three or more broadband lobbyist commercials on the 10:00 news.

Broadband Stimulus Money Starts Flowing

October 6, 2009

10/5/09 at 5:26 PM by Bernie Arnason

ARRA logoNTIA announced the first awards of the broadband stimulus program today.  Funding will come from NTIA’s State Broadband Data and Development Grant Program.  The awards are going to fund activities in California, Indiana, North Carolina, and Vermont.  Approximately $5.9 million in funding has been awarded for state broadband mapping.

“Broadband will bring many benefits to the Nation, such as job creation and innovation, but these benefits have been delayed by the lack of comprehensive, reliable data on the availability of broadband service,” said Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information and NTIA Administrator Lawrence E. Strickling. “This program addresses an important need and will provide a valuable tool in bringing broadband and jobs to more Americans.”

The grants were awarded to the following programs:

  • The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) is awarded approximately $1.8 million; the Indiana Office of Technology (IOT) is awarded approximately $1.3 million; the Rural Economic Development Center, Inc. (e-NC Authority) is awarded approximately $1.6 million; and the Vermont Center for Geographic Information (VCGI) is awarded approximately $1.2 million to collect and verify the availability, speed, and location of broadband across the states of California, Indiana, North Carolina, and Vermont, respectively. This activity is to be conducted on a semi-annual basis between 2009 and 2011, with initial data coming available in November 2009 to inform broadband policy efforts. Awardees are to present the data in a clear and accessible format to the public, government, and the research community.
  • The CPUC is also awarded $500,000 for the cost of broadband planning activities in California over four years, bringing its grant award total to approximately $2.3 million. In addition, the e-NC Authority is awarded approximately $435,000 for the cost of broadband planning activities in North Carolina over five years, bringing its grant award total to over $2 million.

Of course this is just ‘pocket change’ when compared to the overall $7.2 billion program. The real money awards that fund actual broadband construction should be revealed next month.

100 Mbps Broadband Reaches Rural America

September 3, 2009

by Telecompetitor

, an Ellettsville, Indiana based independent telco, has joined the ever increasing club. Smithville has completed the first leg of a $90 million FTTH overbuild project, making a 100 Mbps broadband tier available to its first set of customers. “Currently, no other internet service provider (ISP) in the state of Indiana offers 100 mbps service for residential customers. In fact, no other ISP in the entire US Midwest offer’s more than 50 Mbps,” says Smithfield in a company statement. Some on this blog may give reason to dispute this claim, but nevertheless, it does represent an expansion of the 100 Mbps benchmark into rural America. Smithville says the 100 Mbps service will be available to half of its customer base within 12 months.

The 100 Mbps milestone has become the broadband benchmark extreme of choice. Multiple service providers are now claiming the extreme broadband tier. It amounts to a ‘broadband arms race’ of sorts. Realistically, the overwhelming majority of subscribers neither need nor can afford these 100 Mbps benchmarks. At least not yet. We’re sure the time will come when 100 Mbps is mainstream – when is anyone’s guess.

To read comments posted to the Telecompetitor article go to:

What do you think? Offer your opinion by using the comment tool below.

Broadband Is This Generation’s Highway System

August 5, 2009

There is an interesting article by Ryan Singel of WIRED Magazine, highlighting the FCC’s ongoing attempt to craft the nation’s first broadband plan.  In this article, Singel points out that FCC is planning a very ambitious proposal for the country’s IT infrastructure, a plan that goes beyond simply giving grants to get YouTube and Twitter to farmers. 

An ambitious plan is just what Obama and Congress asked for, according to FCC chairman Julius Genachowski, a former law school classmate of President Barack Obama’s.   Congress has ordered the FCC to deliver a plan next February, they specified that the plan was supposed to do more than just encourage the spread and adoption of broadband.  The third prong was to create a plan that enhanced national priorities, including health, anti-terrorism, education and disaster preparedness.  For the full article, go to:

Connected Nation Develops New Data Tools for Tapping Broadband Stimulus Dollars

July 20, 2009

Connect Ohio and Connected Tennessee’s New Interactive Mapping Tool and Downloadable Census Block Data Will Help Applicants Compete for Stimulus Funds.

A new interactive tool was made available at 4 p.m. EST on July 17, 2009 through the Connected Tennessee and Connect Ohio on-line broadband map sites.  This tool allows the general public to click on any Census Block within those states to obtain the number of households served and unserved by a broadband provider within that Census Block.

In addition, Connected Nation has posted on-line the downloadable datasets of broadband availability information by Census Block.

To learn more about the interactive tool and data sets visit, or

Updated Pew Broadband Survey is Out – Home Broadband Adoption Increases Sharply in 2009

June 19, 2009

Most broadband users see home high-speed connections as very important in community and civic life.   This new Pew Survey shows that broadband adoption rates are not slowing in the recession.  Read more…  And here is Business Week’s take on it, with a focus toward the broadband stimulus programs, while GigaOm focuses on the report’s statistics pertaining to ISP competition and pricing.