NTIA Funds More Middle-Mile Fiber

  • Broadband Stimulus
WASHINGTON, DC - Two ambitious middle-mile projects were awarded broadband stimulus grants today, along with several small broadband adoption projects. The Department of Commerce National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced BTOP grants totaling $63 million to expand broadband access and adoption in Massachusetts, Michigan and North Carolina. Including today’s announcement, NTIA has now awarded 15 grants totaling approximately $200 million, out of about $4.7 billion available for the BTOP program.

The middle-mile projects, both of which are fiber optic networks, are as follows:
Michigan, Merit Network Inc.: $33.3 million infrastructure grant with an additional $8.3 million in matching funds to build a 955-mile advanced fiber optic network through 32 counties in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. The project also intends to directly connect 44 community anchor institutions and will serve an area covering 886,000 households, 45,800 businesses and an additional 378 anchor institutions.

North Carolina, MCNC: $28.2 million infrastructure grant with an additional $11.7 million in matching funds and in-kind contributions to build a 494-mile middle-mile broadband network passing almost half the population of North Carolina in 37 counties. The network will build new rings in the western and eastern regions of the state, which will connect to 685 miles of existing infrastructure in the urbanized central region, expanding the reach of the North Carolina Research and Education Network (NCERN), an established broadband service for community anchor institutions in the state.

NTIA recently announced that a second round of BTOP applications will be accepted through March 15, 2010. The agency says it has modified the rules for applying to this funding round to make the application process more user-friendly and better target program resources.  For more details, see www.broadbandusa.gov.

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