Rural broadband grants coming soon

The $2.5 billion to be awarded to rural broadband projects as part of the recently approved economic stimulus package, otherwise known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, must be awarded by Sept. 30, according to a Telephony report. That means that rural carriers need to have their applications finished and filed with the Rural Utilities Service division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture relatively soon, perhaps as soon as May 1, as Phillip Brown, national policy director for Connected Nation, tells Telephony.

Among other details, any project area up for grant consideration must be 75 percent rural and without sufficient access to broadband, a definition that on the surface seems open to some interpretation. The RUS, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (which is awarding the other $4.7 billion in broadband funds) and the Federal Communications Commission are due to have a joint meeting March 10 to further discuss the grant programs.

For more:
- Telephony has this report

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