All of the applications for the second round of broadband stimulus funding have been posted -- sort of.
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). There are two programs: RUS Broadband Initiatives Program (BIP) and the NTIA Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP). BIP will make loans and grants for broadband infrastructure projects in rural areas, while BTOP will provide grants to fund broadband infrastructure, public computer centers and sustainable broadband adoption project.
The first phase was slated to award $4 billion, a little more than half of the total $7.2 billion. In the first round alone, $28 billion in requests was made. Awards started being announced in December and were completed recently.
The second phase had an application deadline of March 26. Applications for the NTIA BTOP program started being posted in early April but publishing the applications for the RUS BIP program was delayed.
In fact, even now -- though the applications were published on April 16 -- they were published in a separate directory, rather than being included in the searchable database as they had during the first round, and as the BTOP applications were.
The organization did not say why it published the applications in a directory format, but the blog Stimulating Broadband speculated it was because RUS employees and contractors were experiencing difficulties and delays in posting application data via the system. The organization did not say whether it expected to post the applications into the database at a later time.
The organization said it had received 776 applications, for a total of almost $11.2 billion in requests.