Government awards $795 million in broadband stimulus' second round

With a focus on filling the so-called "middle mile" broadband gaps in rural communities, the Obama administration announced they have awarded $795 million in grants and loans in the second broadband stimulus funding round.

Included in the initial list is second-time winner Zayo Bandwidth. After initially winning a $25 million grant to connect 21 Ivy Tech Community College campuses to the I-Light network in Indiana, Zayo's latest $13.4 million grant will be used to build out about 300 miles of new fiber network in Minnesota.

The latest stimulus announcement wasn't short on touting how many jobs will be created in the process. A  White House press release said that these latest investments would create 5,000 construction and installation jobs and $200 million in private investment.

But for all of the celebration over the new awards, the allocation of future broadband funding grants might have to compete with the ongoing Afghanistan and Iraq war effort. Arguing that broadband is one of many stimulus investments "that no longer require the funding" or "have sufficient funds on hand," David Obey (D-Wis.), House Appropriations Chairman, said he would like to cut $602 million out of the broadband stimulus program to offset war costs.

For more:
- Broadband DSL Reports opines about the stimulus
- Connected Planet also has this article
- see the 66 winners here (PDF)

Related articles:
Broadband stimulus: An enabler, not a panacea
Middle mile providers: Complementary, not competitive
Comptel 2010: RCN gets ready to build Open Cape Network
Zayo Group completes acquisition of AGL Networks
Qwest reconsiders broadband stimulus
Broadband stimulus: Clarity is needed, say service providers