EAGLE-Net can resume $100 million network buildout in Colorado, says NTIA

EAGLE-Net Alliance got the green light from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to restart network construction on its middle mile network serving school districts and other local organizations throughout Colorado.

The project has been suspended since last December due to environmental concerns. EAGLE-Net was awarded a $100.6 million Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) grant in September 2010.

Although it can now resume building, the NTIA said that the project will now take another year and an additional $10 to $15 million in private funding to complete. It was originally scheduled to be completed by the end of August.

"NTIA has been working closely with EAGLE-Net over the past few months to address the environmental requirements needed to get the project back on track, and it has met those requirements," said NTIA Associate Administrator Anthony Wilhelm, in a Denver Post article. "We'll continue to vigorously oversee the project to protect taxpayers' investment."

Wilhem added that lifting the suspension "will allow the organization to take advantage of the spring construction season and focus on helping western Colorado school districts get access to high capacity broadband."

Despite the promise that EAGLE-Net is proposing with its network, it has faced criticism from various service providers, including incumbent telcos and cable operators that claim EAGLE-Net is overbuilding in areas of Colorado that already have enough broadband access.

Regardless of the criticism, the NTIA said that there are 29 school districts and communities that EAGLE-Net will focus its attention on extending its services to hard to rearch areas of the state such as Buena Vista School District.

The NTIA said that EAGLE-Net will connect 100 school districts by the end of the year and the remaining 58 will be completed in 2014.

For more:
- The Denver Post has this article

Related articles:
NTIA suspends EAGLE-Net Alliance's middle mile project
EAGLE-Net: We're not overbuilding in Colorado
Zayo adds 162 miles of fiber to EAGLE-Net's Colorado network footprint
Zayo lights up new fiber capacity for EAGLE-Net Alliance