Originally published: February 16, 2012
Last updated: March 2, 2012 - 11:05pm
[Commentary] How far along is the national broadband stimulus program?
Since 2009, over $3,525,706,687 in stimulus grants have been disbursed to 258 applicants in two rounds of Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) funding, according to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). More than 18,000 miles of new broadband networks have been built out as of November 2011, the Commerce Dept. reported. The money has been used for more than 229 projects so far--beyond building infrastructure, stimulus has funded the creation and improvement of public computer centers, state government development, and sustainable broadband adoption initiatives. But a look at the NTIA's broadband availability maps show that the United States still has a way to go before every citizen has access to acceptable high-speed, scalable broadband.
There are large hurdles to clear. Rural communities are still way behind the speed curve, with 17 states reporting a 15 to 25 percent difference in speed availability between their urban and rural areas. (And that's at the 3 Mbps/768 Kbps federal standard.) That is beginning to change, as stimulus awardees including Windstream in its Oklahoma region put their grants into action and break ground on projects to improve broadband access in selected rural areas. Low income consumers are gaining more access to broadband technologies thanks to both increased public computer availability and "essentials"-type subscriber programs offered by providers like Comcast and CenturyLink.
- Tax Safe Harbor for Broadband Stimulus Grants
- MMTC: BTOP Spillover Bucks Should Go to Small Biz
- Tales from the front lines of the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program
- Eleventh Quarterly Status Report to Congress Regarding BTOP
- BTOP-BIP Brouhaha
- Recovery Act Funds Sit Still
- Local Authorities Urge Full Broadband Stimulus Funding
- Driving broadband adoption in the Latino community
- NTIA Seeks Input on BTOP Reporting Requirements
- NTIA Oversight Is Helping BTOP Projects Succeed
- Extension Granted for Round 2 Broadband Stimulus Applications
- NARUC Wants More Funds For NTIA Broadband Oversight
- BTOP/BIP Workshop (Atlanta)
- Wisconsin's stimulus rejection: Too many strings, or too much scrutiny?
- Second Broadband Stimulus Funding Window Opens