The wait to see who will get money in the first round of the National Telecommunications & Information Administration (NTIA) broadband stimulus grants will soon be over as the agency said it plans to announce who received grants "no earlier" than Sept. 14. In addition, the NTIA has extended the deadline for applicants to submit supporting materials. Bids for this first slice of broadband funding were due last night, a date the NTIA pushed out from the initial deadline of Aug. 14.
Although applicants still had to get their bids in by yesterday afternoon, the NTIA in an effort to "minimize issues" said it will still accept supporting documents by postmark, hand delivery or electronic form until Aug. 24. Issuing applications electronically has been fraught with technical issues. When the NTIA announces who the finalist applicants are, the other applicants will be examined by the government of the respective state that wants to use the funds for a broadband project. From there, the NTIA will begin awarding grants in November. By the end of December, NTIA said the first round of awards would be completed.
Among the many states vying for the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) portion of the funding is Massachusetts. A Light Reading report revealed that the City of Boston has requested $15 million to build its Boston Broadband Network to increase broadband access in underserved regions, create public computer centers and an overall broadband program. Then, in Southern Massachusetts, the Open Cape initiative applied for a $40 million grant to create an open access fiber network that will provide access to business and residential users in Cape Cod, the Islands and Southeastern Massachusetts.
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