Not all the grants for expanding broadband in the U.S. using stimulus funding have been made, but some of the rejection notices are starting to come out.
In addition, both of the federal agencies making the awards have said they intend to announce all the awards — and rejections — by the end of the month, according to the Stimulating Broadband website.
Let’s recap. In the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, also known as the stimulus package, Congress appropriated $7.2 billion for broadband grants, loans, and loan guarantees to be administered by the USDA’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS) and the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). The deadline for submissions for the first phase was August of last year. The first phase awards $4 billion, a little more than half of the total $7.2 billion.
A number of applications for the stimulus funding — some loans, some grants, and some through RUS and some through NTIA — were made for projects in Intermountain West states.
Some of the applications now include a status line: “Awarded,” for projects that received grants; “Application Ineligible” for applications that were not valid for some reason; “Application Not Funded,” for applications that were turned down; “Application Not Funded by BTOP,” which appears to mean it was rejected by NTIA’s Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) but could still be funded by another agency; “Application Received,” which appears to mean it’s still in the running; and “Application Withdrawn,” meaning the applicant itself changed its mind.
How did Intermountain West states do?
First of all, no applications were marked ineligible or withdrawn. (Searches were conducted for applications for a specific state from a specific state, meaning that not all projects that might occur in a state were covered.)
Colorado: One application has been awarded, $1.5 million for The Peetz Cooperative Telephone Co. to deploy broadband infrastructure in and around the Peetz Community using a combination of technologies. Fourteen applications are not funded, ranging from ranging from $9,728 to improve access in Gunnison to $28 million for EchoStar XI Operating L.L.C. to train users in most of the U.S. Another eight were not funded by BTOP, ranging from $900,000 for Tribal Lands Telecommunications, LLC to improve access in tribal lands in six states to $116 million in grants and $20 million in loans to NE Colorado Cellular, Inc. to to provide wireless broadband throughout south and east Colorado and rural Nebraska. Thirteen projects remain to hear, ranging from $245,000 for the High Plains Library District in Greeley to set up public access Internet for users in Weld County to $178 million to connect 216 school and library sites across the state.
Idaho: No applications have as yet been awarded. On the other hand, none have been outright rejected, either. Five are not funded by BTOP, ranging from $493,000 for North Kootenai County rural broadband access to $27 million to provide access to most homes, businesses, and community anchor institutions in Bonner and Boundary Counties. Seven remain, ranging from $64,500 to set up a computer center in a new branch of the Ada County Community Library to $17 million for the City of Ammon.
Montana: No applications have as yet been awarded. Four have been not funded, ranging from $1.8 million to establish a distance learning and public technology center on the Northern Cheyenne reservation to $3.7 million for the Montana Chamber of Commerce to increase Tribal members’ access to broadband. Five were not funded by BTOP, ranging from $323,000 linking St. Mary Valley to Browning to $34 million to bring broadband to Ennis, Power, Augusta, Stockett, Raynesford, Geyser, Dupuyer, Fort Shaw, Pendroy, and Harrison. Four remain, ranging from $1.7 million to improve access in Alta to $15 million in grants and $30 million in loans for 11 rural communities.
Oregon: The Gervais Telephone Co. received $314,000 for one unserved and one underserved area in rural Marion County. Eight applications were turned down, ranging from $47,000 for 20 laptops in the teen area of the Salem library to $19 million for network infrastructure between Eugene and Corvallis. Seven applications were not funded by BTOP, ranging from $57,000 for the Low Pass area between Eugene and Triangle Lake to $4.2 million for the rural areas around Aumsville and Turner. Eight are still in the running, ranging from $375,000 for the city of Sandy to $8.4 million to the Lane Council of Governments for areas around Eugene.
Utah: No applications have as yet been awarded. Nine were not funded, including a number of state-requested applications, ranging from $1.2 million in La Verkin to $34 million for UTOPIA, a state agency representing 16 cities. Seven were not funded by BTOP, ranging from $500,000 in grants and $300,000 in loans for areas in Carbon and Emery counties to $38 million to link national parks in 12 Western states. Four remain in the running, ranging from $940,000 for the “Wireless Beehive” to $14 million to link 135 Community Anchor Institutions including elementary and charter schools, libraries, head start, and public safety organizations.
Wyoming: No applications have as yet been awarded. Two were not funded: $513,000 for Central Wyoming College to provide online access to its collection, and $680,000 to the Hot Springs Greater Learning Foundation in Thermopolis. One $2.8 million project, to construct approximately 44 miles of fiber facilities between Jackson and Moran, was not funded by BTOP. Still in the running are three projects, ranging from $823,000 to track stroke treatment in hospitals to $30 million for the Union Telephone Co. to use 3G technology to cover all of Wyoming.
The second round of applications are scheduled to be submitted between Feb. 16 and March 15.