Broadband stimulus progress report stipulates grant application deadlines

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) released the first quarterly report on the progress of the national broadband plan stipulated in the economic stimulus package. The report highlights the timetable for the grant application process and the beginning of a 7.2 billion-dollar federal investment in improving America's nationwide broadband services.

As stated in the stimulus bill, the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) is organized around establishing a grant program to increase broadband access in unserved and underserved regions of the United States.

The grant program will officially begin this month when BTOP issues formal notices of funds available, both for the general broadband stimulus funds and specific funds set aside for the creation of a nationwide map of broadband service capability and availability.

Throughout the summer, NTIA will hold regional outreach and grant workshops across the nation to encourage participation. Workshops will provide further guidance regarding the program requirements and application process.

Applications for both general broadband funds and map funds will be accepted starting in July through September 2009. Initial grants will be awarded in the fourth quarter of 2009.

Three rounds of grand awards are planned in total, the following two to be made available in 2010. All grant funding will be completely dispersed by October 2011.

BTOP aims to have achieved "substantial completion of all grant projects" by 2012.

Final program audits and shutdown is planned for September 30, 2014.

Information and updates about the broadband grants initiative are made available on NTIA's new BTOP website. The next quarterly report will be submitted on or before August 17, 2009.

Broadband Technology Opportunities Program Quarterly Program Status Report (National Telecommunications and Information Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce)

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