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The federal government today made the first awards aimed toward improving broadband access in the U.S.

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 applications for the first round was earlier this year.

At an event at Impulse Manufacturing in Dawsonville, Georgia, with Governor Sonny Perdue (R-GA), Vice President Joe Biden announced an initial $183 million investment in eighteen broadband projects benefiting seventeen states, which has already been matched by more than $46 million in public and private sector capital, the White House said.

The following Middle Mile awards were made through the Department of Commerce:

  • GEORGIA: North Georgia Network Cooperative, Inc., $33.5 million grant with an additional $8.8 million in matching funds to deploy a 260-mile regional fiber-optic ring to deliver gigabit broadband in the North Georgia foothills.
  • MAINE: Biddeford Internet Corp. (d.b.a. GWI), $25.4 million grant with an additional $6.4 million in matching funds to build a 1,100-mile open access fiber-optic network extending to the most rural and disadvantaged areas of the state of Maine, from the Saint John Valley in the north, to the rocky coastline of downeast Maine, to the mountainous regions of western Maine.
  • NEW YORK: ION Hold Co., LLC, $39.7 million grant with an additional $9.9 million in matching funds to build 10 new segments of fiber-optic, middle mile broadband infrastructure, serving more than 70 rural communities in upstate New York and parts of Pennsylvania and Vermont.
  • SOUTH DAKOTA: South Dakota Network, LLC, $20.6 million grant with an additional $5.1 million in matching funds to add 140 miles of backbone network and 219 miles of middle mile spurs to existing network, enabling the delivery of at least 10 Mbps service to more than 220 existing anchor institution customers in rural and underserved areas of the state.

The following Public Computer Center awards were made through the Department of Commerce:

  • ARIZONA: Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records, $1.3 million grant with matching funds of $320,000 to enhance existing facilities in more than 80 public libraries throughout the state. The project expects to deploy more than 1,000 computers.
  • MASSACHUSETTS: City of Boston, $1.9 million grant with matching funds of $477,000 to expand computer and Internet capacity at the city’s main library and 25 branches, 16 community centers, and 11 public housing sites.
  • MINNESOTA: Regents of the University of Minnesota, $2.9 million grant with matching funds of $741,000 to enhance broadband awareness and use for residents in four federally-designated poverty zones in Minneapolis and St. Paul.
  • WASHINGTON: The Inland Northwest Community Access Network (Tincan), $1.3 million grant with matching funds of $753,000 to establish three new public computer centers and expand 14 existing centers throughout Spokane’s poorest neighborhoods to serve more than 5,000 additional users per week.

The following Sustainable Broadband Adoption awards were made through the Department of Commerce:

  • NEW MEXICO: New Mexico State Library, $1.5 million grant with an additional $591,000 in matching funds to increase broadband adoption and promote computer literacy and Internet use.
  • WASHINGTON: The Inland Northwest Community Access Network, $981,000 grant with an additional $728,000 in matching funds to increase broadband adoption through basic and advanced computer skill training, as well as community-based outreach campaigns to highlight the benefits of broadband for vulnerable populations in Spokane.

The following Last Mile and Middle Mile awards were made today through the U.S. Department of Agriculture:

  • ALASKA: Anchorage, Rivada Sea Lion, LLC, $25.3 million grant with $6.4 million of leveraged funds; 4G high-speed broadband internet service availability to more than 9,000 unserved locations in a 90,000 square mile area where these Southwestern Alaska inhabitants are living at subsistence level.
  • HAWAII: Big Island Broadband/Aloha Broadband, Inc., $106,503 loan with matching funds of $87,405 to bring broadband services to an unserved area in the northern part of the islands where there are nearly 600 residents and businesses.
  • COLORADO/NEBRASKA: Peetz, Colorado, Peetz Cooperative Telephone Co., $1.5 million grant; expansion of existing infrastructure utilizing a combination of technologies. This project will make broadband service available to as many as 550 locations in the service area.
  • MICHIGAN: The Chatham Telephone Company, $8.6 million grant to bring high speed DSL broadband service to remote, unserved businesses and households within its rural territory; service that is comparable to the DSL service provided in its more populated areas.
  • NEW HAMPSHIRE: Bretton Woods, The Bretton Woods Telephone Company, $985,000 grant for 20 Mbps two-way broadband service to all potential customers and stimulate tourism in the area to substantially improve the local economy. This Fiber to The Premise service will be available to more than 400 locations.
  • NEW YORK: Potsdam, Slic Network Solutions (Nicholville Telephone) a grant of $4.3 million and loan of $1.1 million for a 136-mile fiber optic network reaching into five towns in rural Franklin County. This all-fiber network will deliver broadband voice, and IPTV services to remote rural areas. The network will offer service to more than 6,500 locations.
  • OHIO: North Central Ohio Rural Fiber Optic Network, Consolidated Electric Cooperative, $1,034,413 grant and $1,399,499 loan; and matching funds of $1,225,000. The funding is integral to a smart grid initiative and broadband service based on an open-connectivity fiber optic backbone network.
  • OKLAHOMA: Southeast Oklahoma, The Pine Telephone Company, $9.5 grant with an additional $4.6 million in private funds to provide services to an entirely remote, rural, unserved and severely economically disadvantaged community.

An additional $1.8 billion will be made available on a rolling basis over the next 75 days.

The White House also issued a report, Recovery Act Investments in Broadband:
Leveraging Federal Dollars to Create Jobs and Connect America
, with more details about the goals of the overall programs, as well as how the projects announced today were intended to support those goals.

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