In addition to funding broadband projects in the states, particularly in rural areas, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, also known as the stimulus package, includes funds for collection of state-level broadband data, as well as state-wide broadband mapping and planning.
The project, which will also help create a national broadband map, is being managed by the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA).
The State Broadband Data and Development Grant Program, announced on July 1, is a competitive, merit-based matching grant program that will provide approximately $240 million in grants to assist states or their designees to develop state-specific data on the deployment levels and adoption rates of broadband services, the NTIA said. Awardees are required to contribute at least 20 percent non-federal matching funds toward project costs.
Each state could have only a single, eligible entity to perform the mapping. Applications for the program were accepted from July 14 to August 14.
On September 9, the NTIA announced that it had received applications representing all 50 states, five territories, and the District of Columbia. Fifty-two of the 56 states (or their designated entities) also submitted requests for broadband planning funds, typically about $500,000 each over a 5-year period, the NTIA said, which also released a list of the applicants.
Now, the NTIA is beginning to announce grant awards made to the states for mapping. Thus far, no states from the Intermountain West have yet received their grants. And while the NTIA has released a list of the applications from each state, it did not release the applications themselves, as it did for the broadband stimulus projects.
However, Idaho’s state chief technology officer, Greg Zickau, provided a copy of the Idaho application to New West. “Idaho designated Puget Sound Center for Teaching, Learning and Technology [PSCLTLT], a nonprofit organization,” he said. “The Office of the CIO worked closely with PSCTLT’s affiliates, LinkAmerica and CostQuest Associates, to develop and submit a proposal for Idaho. The proposal includes mapping broadband availability, modeling and mapping broadband demand, and developing a plan for building out the broadband infrastructure.”
The Idaho Data and Development Program budget is $4,328,032, including direct and indirect costs of $2,848,125 related to Mapping, and $492,584 for Planning, for a total of $3,340,709 in direct and indirect program costs to be federally funded, according to the application The applicant’s match/in-kind portion of the budget totals $987,323.
Zickau expected Idaho to hear its response within a few days.
The following are the applicants for the remaining states in the Intermountain West:
Colorado — Governor’s Office of Information Technology
Montana — Montana Department of Commerce
Oregon — Public Utility Commission of Oregon
Utah — Utah Public Service Commission
The national broadband mapping project has come under criticism in recent months for bowing to industry pressure and planning to put less detail in the map.