Monday, May 11, 2009

Alcatel-Lucent Launches 'Broadband for All' Program in US

Alcatel-Lucent has kicked off a "Broadband for All" program in the United States to provide advisory services to telecommunications companies, municipalities and developers interested in applying for broadband stimulus funds as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Tax Act (ARRA) of 2009. The Act provides more than $7 billion in grants, loans and loan guarantees to unserved and underserved rural areas, offering them broadband access and services that have been previously limited or unavailable.

More than 6,200 small service providers, municipalities, utilities and developers provide communications services to residents of rural areas throughout the United States. Alcatel-Lucent's "Broadband for All" program offers telecom providers a turnkey service to apply for government funding including grant application assistance, as well as technology solutions to enable them to upgrade their voice, video and data services for the 21st century. The ARRA of 2009 represents the government's largest commitment to accelerate the availability of broadband technology for the rural and underserved markets, as well as public safety.

Alcatel-Lucent said its team of specialists are able to support rural service providers, municipal customers, and private developers by offering:

  • Funding application preparation and follow-up

  • Advocacy with the key stakeholders and agencies (National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Utilities Service (RUS) which are administering the funds)

  • Technology consulting and solutions

  • Regional seminars and webinars to educate customers and consultants about the funding and application process

"The stimulus bill offers a unique opportunity for service providers, municipalities and developers to upgrade their networks for decades to come with technology that supports broadband access and services," said Rich Wonders, Vice President of Strategic Marketing for Alcatel-Lucent's Americas region.

"Not only is this a chance to offer their customers the kinds of broadband access enjoyed in more densely populated areas, but this represents a significant opportunity to create jobs throughout the U.S. The single largest cost component of deploying rural broadband is in the physical construction and deployment of the network, so these projects will create jobs as well as result in much better communications services for the residences and businesses in those communities."

With a proven track record of working with telecommunications providers in rural areas, Alcatel-Lucent has one of the broadest portfolios of products granted Rural Development Acceptance and/or Buy American status by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Development agency for deployment under the Rural Development Broadband Loan and Loan Guarantee Program. Alcatel-Lucent has more than 20,000 U.S.-based employees and includes the unrivalled technical and scientific expertise of Bell Labs, one of the largest innovation powerhouses in the communications industry.

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