Posts Tagged ‘Broadband’

USDA Concludes Broadband Stimulus Round 1 with $22 Million Native American Award

March 31, 2010

USDA Press Release via StimulatingBroadband.com 03/30/2010 Washington – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the selection of the Reservation Telephone Cooperative infrastructure broadband project to give rural residents of the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation and the surrounding area access to improved economic and educational opportunities. The service area includes parts of Montana and North Dakota.

Chairman Marcus Levings, of the Three Affiliated Tribes of the
Fort Berthold Reservation, ND, speaks to President Obama during
the Native American Summit of 11/05/2009 held at Dept. of the
Interior (Photo: Doug Mills, New York Times)

 

Today’s announcement concludes the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s first round of broadband funding announcements through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act). Applications filed under the second and final round are under review and will be announced before the end of the 2010 fiscal year.

“The Recovery Act broadband projects announced by USDA will open up educational, job and business opportunities to hundreds of thousands of Americans living in rural areas,” said Vilsack. “As President Obama said earlier this month, ‘America today is on the verge of a broadband-driven Internet era that will unleash innovation, create new jobs and industries, provide consumers with new powerful sources of information, enhance American safety and security, and connect communities in ways that strengthen our democracy.’ I am pleased that USDA, with funds provided through the Recovery Act, is leading this effort in rural parts of our country.”

Today’s announcement provides a $10.95 million loan and a $10.95 million grant to the Reservation Telephone Cooperative to provide service in the remote and rural areas in and around the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation. The project will bring broadband service to homes, businesses, schools and libraries. In addition, service will be provided to tribal government facilities which provide tribal child support, education assistance, employment assistance, health care and public safety services on the reservation. The area has experienced poverty rates as high as 28 percent and a 40 percent unemployment rate.

To date, $1.067 billion has been invested by USDA through the Recovery Act for 68 broadband projects. Together, the projects will make high speed Internet available to an estimated 529,000 households and 96,000 rural business and public facilities across 31 states, one territory and 17 tribal lands and predominantly Alaska Native regions. Many of the areas to be served are extremely remote, sparsely populated and in some cases not connected by roads. Secretary Vilsack and other cabinet officials visited some of the communities that will receive broadband Internet access during a “Rural Tour” last year. Funding is contingent upon the recipient meeting the terms of the loan, grant or loan/grant agreement.

President Obama signed The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 into law on Feb. 17, 2009. It is designed to jumpstart the nation’s economy, create or save millions of jobs, and help to bridge the digital divide necessary to addressing long-neglected challenges so our country can thrive in the 21st century. The Act includes measures to modernize our nation’s infrastructure, enhance energy independence, expand educational opportunities, preserve and improve affordable health care, provide tax relief, and protect those in greatest need.

FCC’s National Broadband Plan Released Today

March 16, 2010
3/16/10 at 10:08 AM by Joan Engebretson  http://www.telecompetitor.com/

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.

http://www.telecompetitor.com/fcc%e2%80%99s-national-broadband-plan-may-cost-25-billion/

Governors of Illinois and Kansas Winnow State Broadband Stimulus Applications

October 22, 2009

By Drew Clark, Editor, BroadbandCensus.com

October 20, 2009 – The states of Illinois and Kansas on Tuesday released their recommendations for the first round of broadband stimulus funding, with Illinois winnowing 140 applicants for broadband projects to a list of 31 proposed projects, and Kansas narrowing its pool of 85 applicants to 22.

Merely because a project is on the list of recommendations from a state does not guarantee acceptance by the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration and the Agriculture Department’s Rural Utilities Service – nor does it mean that the federal government must select from among candidates on the state-approved list.

To read the complete article go to:  http://broadbandcensus.com/2009/10/governors-of-illinois-and-kansas-winnow-state-broadband-stimulus-applications/

BroadbandCensus.com Posts NTIA/RUS Broadband Infrastructure Application

July 9, 2009

WASHINGTON, July 8, 2009 – One week after the release of the two Notices of Funds Availability for broadband stimulus grants, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration had not posted the online applications as of 5:15 p.m. ET, although they were promised on July 7, 2009.

BroadbandCensus.com here posts a copy of joint application for the Broadband Infrastructure Application: