Report: Bradford County withdraws from North Florida Broadband Authority

The troubled North Florida Broadband Authority (NFBA) has another hurdle to leap, as a local publication reported that Bradford County, one of the areas slated for a planned $30 million middle mile fixed wireless network build funded by BTOP, voted Monday to withdraw from the Authority.

NFBA network map detail

NFBA's planned network in north central Florida.

As reported by the Columbia County Observer, Bradford County Attorney Will Sexton explained in a letter to the NFBA that the organization had strayed from its guiding principles and that he was concerned about the viability of the NFBA, including its $750,000 debt load. The letter also suggested that the NFBA is operating outside federal grant procurement guidelines, with the staff continuing "to direct much of the activity of the NFBA without consultation from the entire NFBA Board or, at most, with the support of a generally complicit NFBA Board and/or chairman."

The NFBA did not respond to requests for comment by press time.

It's unclear at this point the impact that Bradford County's withdrawal will have on the project. A total of 14 counties are part of the NFBA and part of the planned network will run through Bradford County.

In 2011, the organization selected Level 3 (NYSE: LVLT) to supply two 1 Gbps wavelength circuits via its extended on-net assets and HSIP (high speed Internet Protocol) services located in Tampa and Orlando. Calix (NYSE: CALX) is also on board as an optical network equipment supplier.

However, funding was temporarily suspended last year as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Office of Acquisition and Grants, which is overseeing how the grant money is administered, looked into allegations of waste.

For more:
- the Columbia County Observer has this article

Special Report:  Broadband stimulus scandals: Missteps in the buildout, and what's at stake

Related articles:
North Florida Broadband Authority gets back on track with middle mile network build
North Florida's broadband initiative comes under government fire
North Florida Broadband Authority to deploy Calix in its middle mile network
Level 3 to supply middle mile services to North Florida Broadband Authority