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ARRA Funding for Broadband Comes to the GMR Region

“Broadband is the new dial tone of the 21st-century” says Georgia Governor Sonny Purdue.   Along with Vice President Biden, the GA Governor kicked off $7.2 billion in Recovery Act broadband grant and loan programs.  $2 billion of it will be made available on a “rolling basis over the next 75 days to bring high-speed Internet to communities that currently have little or no access to the technology.”   There are many communities in the United States without broadband Internet access.  With this infusion of dollars, there will be more job opportunities in infrastructure and manufacturing and will help bridge the digital divide which still unfortunately exists.

There are eighteen projects in seventeen states being funding right out of the gate.   Some of these are in the NN/LM GMR region.  The projects are split up into different types of awards.  They are as follows:

  • Middle Mile Awards – $121.6 million to build and improve connections to communities lacking sufficient broadband access.
    • SOUTH DAKOTA: South Dakota Network, LLC, $20.6 million grant with an additional $5.1 million in matching funds to add 140 miles of backbone network and 219 miles of middle mile spurs to existing network, enabling the delivery of at least 10 Mbps service to more than 220 existing anchor institution customers in rural and underserved areas of the state.
  • Last Mile Awards – $51.4 million to connect end users like homes, hospitals and schools to their community’s broadband infrastructure (the middle mile).
    • MICHIGAN: The Chatham Telephone Company, $8.6 million grant to bring high speed DSL broadband service to remote, unserved businesses and households within its rural territory; service that is comparable to the DSL service provided in its more populated areas.
    • OHIO: North Central Ohio Rural Fiber Optic Network, Consolidated Electric Cooperative, $1,034,413 grant and $1,399,499 loan; and matching funds of  $1,225,000. The funding is integral to a smart grid initiative and broadband service based on an open-connectivity fiber optic backbone network.
  • Public Computing– $7.3 million to expand computer center capacity for public use in libraries, community colleges and other public venues.
    • MINNESOTA: Regents of the University of Minnesota, $2.9 million grant with matching funds of $741,000 to enhance broadband awareness and use for residents in four federally-designated poverty zones in Minneapolis and St. Paul.
  • Sustainable Adoption – $2.4 million to fund innovative projects that promote broadband demand with population groups where the technology has traditionally been underutilized.
    • None in our region

Congratulations to the states in the GMR region that have received this funding!

Read more about this opportunity from the White House Press Release.

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