Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Department of Commerce Awards $63 Million in Broadband Grants

The Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced grants totaling $63 million to expand broadband access and adoption in Massachusetts, Michigan and North Carolina.


Funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, NTIA's Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) provides grants to support the deployment of broadband infrastructure in unserved and underserved areas, enhance and expand public computer centers, and encourage sustainable adoption of broadband service. These investments will help bridge the technological divide, boost economic growth and create jobs.


New grant recipient include:

  • Massachusetts, University of Massachusetts-Lowell: $780,000 broadband adoption grant with an additional $196,000 in applicant-provided matching funds to promote broadband awareness and computer literacy among vulnerable populations, including the nation's second largest Cambodian population, low-income and at-risk youth, the unemployed, residents without college degrees, and seniors in Lowell and Merrimack Valley. As part of the program, University of Massachusetts--Lowell students will work in local computer centers with at-risk youth and seniors to develop appropriate training and outreach materials.


  • Michigan, Merit Network.: $33.3 million infrastructure grant with an additional $8.3 million in matching funds to build a 955-mile advanced fiber-optic network through 32 counties in Michigan's Lower Peninsula. The project also intends to directly connect 44 community anchor institutions and will serve an area covering 886,000 households, 45,800 businesses, and an additional 378 anchor institutions.


  • Michigan, Michigan State University: $895,000 public computer center grant with an additional $235,000 in matching funds to expand 84 existing library computer centers and establish four new computer centers. Computer center sites were selected by targeting underserved and high-unemployment population areas and then focusing on those libraries with the greatest need for additional computing capacity. The project will add 500 new workstations at these targeted public computer centers throughout the state and serve nearly 13,000 additional users per week.


  • North Carolina, MCNC: $28.2 million infrastructure grant with an additional $11.7 million in matching funds and in-kind contributions to build a 494-mile middle-mile broadband network passing almost half the population of North Carolina in 37 counties. The network will build new rings in the western and eastern regions of the state, which will connect to 685 miles of existing infrastructure in the urbanized central region, expanding the reach of the North Carolina Research and Education Network (NCREN), an established broadband service for community anchor institutions in the state.


NTIA received nearly 1,800 applications during the first BTOP funding round and is currently awarding grants on a rolling basis. Including today's announcement, NTIA has now awarded 15 grants totaling approximately $200 million under the program. A second round of BTOP applications will be accepted through March 15, 2010.
http://www.ntia.doc.gov/

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