NTIA RUS Joint Request for Information

Date: 
November 16, 2009
Docket Number: 
0907141137-91375-05

Broadband Initiatives Program and Broadband Technology Opportunities Program

"Rummel, Jeffrey" <Rummel.Jeffrey@ARENTFOX.COM>

(Late Submission)
Earlier today, the comments of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences were filed in PDF format.

In the event that the agencies prefer WORD format, attached are the WORD files containing the previously-submitted comments of University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.




Jeffrey E. Rummel
Partner

Arent Fox LLP | Attorneys at Law
1050 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036-5339
202.715.8479 DIRECT | 202.857.6395 FAX
rummel.jeffrey@arentfox.com | www.arentfox.com

CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE: This e-mail and any attachments are for the exclusive and confidential use of the intended recipient. If you received this in error, please do not read, distribute, or take action in reliance upon this message. Instead, please notify us immediately by return e-mail and promptly delete this message and its attachments from your computer system. We do not waive attorney-client or work product privilege by the transmission of this message.


________________________________________
IRS Circular 230 disclosure: To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the IRS, we inform you that, unless expressly stated otherwise, any U.S. federal tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments) is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of (i) avoiding penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any transaction or matter addressed herein.


AttachmentSize
UAMS_NTIARUS_Cover.DOC 24 KB
UAMS_NTIARUS_TableandSummary.DOC 42.5 KB
UAMS_NTIARUS_Comments_AsFiled.DOC (2).DOC 81.5 KB

Curt Stamp <cstamp@itta.us>

(Late Submission)
As attached

Curt Stamp
President
Independent Telephone and Telecommunications Alliance
1101 Vermont Avenue, NW
Ste 501
Washington, DC 20005
202-898-1520 - direct
202-898-1589 - fax
www.itta.us


AttachmentSize
ITTA_RFI_113009.pdf 4.11 MB

Representative Nita Lowey and 14 additional U.S. Representatives

(Late Submission)


"Baruch, Stephen D." <SBaruch@lermansenter.com>

(Late Submission)
On behalf of the Satellite Industry Association (“SIA”), please find enclosed an electronic copy of SIA’s Comments in response to the Joint Request for Information from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration and the Rural Utilities Service, as published in the Federal Register on November 16, 2009 (74 Fed. Reg. 58940).

Please acknowledge and confirm receipt of the SIA Comments.

Please direct any questions regarding this submission to Patricia Cooper, President, SIA or to me.

Respectfully,

Stephen Baruch





________________________________________
The entirety of this e-mail message and all attachments may contain information that is legally privileged, confidential or exempt from disclosure. If you are not the intended recipient, please note that any dissemination, distribution, or copying of this communication is prohibited. If you have received this message in error, please notify the sender immediately by telephone or by return e-mail, and delete this communication and all attachments from your computer or PDA.


AttachmentSize
SIA_Comments_on_Second_Joint_RFI.doc 60 KB

"juanita.carver@phoenix.gov" <juanita.carver@phoenix.gov>

(Late Submission)

Attached is the City of Phoenix's response to the BTOP RFI. Thank you for the opportunity to provide input.


Juanita Carver
Management Assistant II
Information Technology Services
602-261-8097


AttachmentSize
City of Phoenix Response to BTOP RFI.pdf 438.01 KB

Ruben Hernandez <ruben.o.hernandez@gmail.com>

(Late Submission)
Dear Sir or Madam:
The Greater San Jose Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (GSJHCC) is a democratic, open, transparent, membership driven, entrepreneurial organization committed to serving the needs of our varied business community in California. The GSJHCC is a premiere Latino organization providing its members with business resources and access to local and global markets.

On February 17, 2009, President Obama signed the Recovery Act into law. The Recovery Act establishes five statutory purposes: to preserve and create jobs and promote economic recovery; to assist those most impacted by the recession; to provide investments needed to increase economic efficiency by spurring technological advances in science and health; to invest in transportation, environmental protection, and other infrastructure that will provide long-term economic benefits; and to stabilize state and local government budgets.

We thank the President, as we believe that the Recovery Act is a much-needed boost for the community we serve. We are very pleased to submit our input in response to the Department of Agriculture, and Department of Commerce Joint Request for Information (RFI). Each of the sections below is written pursuant to the corresponding section and as numbered in the RFI.

I.A.1 New Entities. We believe that RUS and NTIA should eliminate the requirement to provide historical financial statements for recently created entities.

I.A.2 Consortium and Public Private Partnership. We believe that the concept of consortium should be extended to include the consortiums of Not-for-Profit and For-Profit entities in addition to the Public-Private consortiums. This will allow our member organizations to submit proposals in collaboration with GSJHCC. Notice that, a Not-for-Profit organization, such as GSJHCC, plays a nurturing role in community development and job creation. While the concept of lead organization is needed, a letter from the lead organization should also be included in the proposal submitted by the non-leading organization. This simple extension will allow us to build stronger community development activities.

I.A.3 Specification of Service Area. We believe that the applicant for the broadband infrastructure project, instead of merely including data on a census block, should have the freedom to define the specification of a service area. There are many worthy causes that cannot be described by census data alone. Please allow a creative justification process define a service area.

I.A.4 Relation between BIP and BTOP. We believe that, even when greater than 75% of the service area is rural, the applicant shall have choices for submitting between RUS and NTIA, or at both places simultaneously. For applications submitted at both places, a questionnaire can be used to indicate such submissions, and a ‘successful application’ at one organization can be used for automatic cancellation of the other application.

I.B Transparency and Confidentiality. We believe that the executive summary is the only document that should be made public. The other parts of an unsuccessful proposal should remain confidential, regardless of confidentiality request.

I.B NTIA Expert Review Process. We believe that NTIA should continue to rely on unpaid experts as reviewers. In addition, we believe that it is not a good idea to hire contractors for the review process.

II.A Funding Priorities and Objective. We believe that in addition to the other criteria, the number of direct and indirect jobs created, should be a primary impact area. On the other hand, we think that number of anchor organization, when needed, can be sufficiently be just one. As an example, a good community college, a center for employment training, etc. alone can be a good anchor point that can justify projects that can create many jobs. Rejecting proposals on the basis of number of anchor points will not be a good idea.

II.A.2 Economic Development.
- We believe, a portion of the fund should be allocated for economic development, not just for broadband development.
- We believe that the current definitions of “rural”, “remote”, “unserved”, and “underserved” are very restrictive. These definitions exclude many worthy projects within the urban boundaries for many inner city vulnerable communities. These definitions should be clearly expanded to include inner city vulnerable communities.
- We believe that geographical distance requirement to describe remoteness should go away, as remoteness can be a result of impairment of a vulnerable group.
- We believe that funds should be clearly targeted toward areas, either urban or rural with equal priority, with innovative economic strategies, or those suffering exceptional economic hardship.
- We believe that states, regions, or cities, with high unemployment rate, such as California, or inner city San Jose, shall be of high priority.

II.A.3 Targeted Population. We believe that the Hispanic, Latino, and Native American communities should be specifically targeted for grants. We believe that certain portion of the fund, perhaps 10%, should be specifically allocated for this purpose. In addition, we believe that communities where English is still not spoken as primary language should be treated as vulnerable communities, and funds should be allocated for such communities as well. In addition, the definitions of “rural”, “remote”, “unserved”, and “underserved” should be expanded to include these communities regardless of their locations in the USA.

II.A.4 Other Changes. We believe that matching funds should not be a mandatory requirement. Many Hispanic, Latino, Native American, Black, and Non English Speaking vulnerable communities will find it harder to bring matching funds.

II.B Program Definitions. As we have indicated earlier, the definitions of “rural”, “remote”, “unserved”, and “underserved” shall be expanded to include Hispanic, Latino, Native American, Black, and non English Speaking vulnerable communities, regardless of their locations or the status of a particular census block area.

Please consider our inputs in the second Notice of Funds Availability (NOFA). Should you need additional information, please feel free to contact us. Thank you very much.

Sincerely,

Ruben Hernandez
Director, Greater San Jose Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
Email: ruben.o.hernandez@gmail.com



AttachmentSize
GSJHCC_RFI Response.doc 1.57 MB

Carly Van Orsdel <Carly.VanOrsdel@metaswitch.com>

(Late Submission)
To Whom it May Concern-


Thank you for receiving the attached letter. We appreciate the opportunity to provide suggestions/input regarding your process.



Sincerely-

Carly Van Orsdel
Manager, Office Administration
Metaswitch
1001 Marina Village Pkwy
Suite 100
Alameda, CA 94501
(510) 748-8230


AttachmentSize
BIP BTOP RFI Round 2.pdf 64.69 KB

Peter Tenhula <ptenhula@sharedspectrum.com>

(Late Submission)
Please find attached the comments of Shared Spectrum Company (SSC) in response to the Joint Request for Information (RFI). SSC's brief comments address the RFI's questions on targeted projects that should be funded by the agencies. Specifically, SSC strongly recommends that a small portion of the BTOP dollars be used to fund test-bed or proof of concept projects that will demonstrate innovative and effective ways of getting broadband into hard-to-reach communities with new advanced wireless technologies.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if there are any questions.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Peter A. Tenhula
Vice President and General Counsel
Shared Spectrum Company
1595 Spring Hill Road, Suite 110
Vienna, VA 22182
Direct: 703-462-6949
Main: 703-761-2818
Fax: 703-761-2817
Mobile: 202-841-6357
ptenhula@sharedspectrum.com
www.sharedspectrum.com


AttachmentSize
SSC BTOP Rnd 2 Comments (Final 11-30-09).pdf 16.08 KB

Mark W. Keeling

(Late Submission)


AttachmentSize
BTOP Public Comments.pdf 162.07 KB

Erin Lutts <elutts@midrivers.com>

(Late Submission)
Our initial e-mail filing was rejected by the e-mail system, so I am trying a second attempt in the hope that our comments can still be considered. Thank you for your assistance.


Erin M. Lutts

External Relations Manager

Mid-Rivers Communications

105 Seven Mile Drive

Glendive, MT 59330

(406) 377-7438

elutts@midrivers.com

www.midrivers.com

-----Original Message-----
From: Erin Lutts [mailto:elutts@midrivers.com]
Sent: Monday, November 30, 2009 2:58 PM
To: 'broadbandrfi@ntia.doc.gov'
Cc: 'billw@midrivers.com'
Subject: Comments of Mid-Rivers Communications
Importance: High

Attached please find comments in response to Docket Number 0907141137-91375-05, the NTIA/RUS Joint Request for Information regarding the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program and Broadband Infrastructure Program. Comments are included in both Word and PDF for your convenience.

Sincerely,


Erin M. Lutts

External Relations Manager

Mid-Rivers Communications

105 Seven Mile Drive

Glendive, MT 59330

(406) 377-7438

elutts@midrivers.com

www.midrivers.com




AttachmentSize
Comments on NTIA RUS RFI.doc 96 KB
Comments on NTIA RUS RFI.pdf 78.91 KB

Fred Dyste <fred@dystebizdev.com>

(Late Submission)
To whom it may concern:
I found the most expeditious way to answer your questions was to do so inline with your document. The total number of pages of the document is 13, but your document is 10, so my actual response is only three pages. I chose not to format this with an executive summary nor table of contents.
I am submitting in both .pdf and .docx formats.
I hope you find this acceptable.
Cheers,
Fred Dyste
fred@dystebizdev.com
The City of Grover Beach
Grover Beach, CA 93433
805-426-9281


--
Fred Dyste
DysteBizDev
805-426-9281
skype: dystebizdev
http://www.linkedin.com/in/freddyste


AttachmentSize
NTIA RFI Response - City of Grover Beach.pdf 96.68 KB
NTIA RFI Response - City of Grover Beach.docx 31.26 KB

Mark Stuber <mstuber@engineeringassociates.com>

(Late Submission)
Dear Sir or Madam,

Attached please find our written comments per the Request for Information regarding ARRA Broadband Stimulus Round 2. If you have any further questions, please contact our firm.



Mark Stuber
Engineering Associates, Inc.

1220 Old Alpharetta Rd, Suite 390
Alpharetta, GA 30005
office (direct) - 678-455-8558
mstuber@engineeringassociates.com




AttachmentSize
Streamlining BIP and BTOP.docx 20.66 KB

"Ivanov, Mark" <mivanov@empirix.com>

(Late Submission)
Good afternoon,

Please accept my attached document as response for comment with regards to the DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Telecommunications and Information Administration, Docket Number: 0907141137–91375–05, RIN: 0660–ZA28, Broadband Initiatives Program and Broadband Technology Opportunities Program.

I thank you in advance for your time and effort to review my response. If you have any questions or comments, please direct them to me.

Best Regards,
Mark Ivanov, Manager
Empirix Inc.
O) 781-266-3482
C) 508-397-8524


AttachmentSize
NTIA Letter 20091130.pdf 181.11 KB

Jill Nishi <Jill.Nishi@gatesfoundation.org>

(Late Submission)
Please find attached comments submitted by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. If you have any problems accessing this document, please do not hesitate to contact Jill Nishi at the email noted below.

Respectfully Submitted,
Jill Nishi
Deputy Director
U.S. Libraries Initiative

V +1.206.709.3502
F +1.206.709.3280
E jill.nishi@gatesfoundation.org
Assistant Cathy Hawley
V +1.206.709.3156
E cathy.hawley@gatesfoundation.org
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
www.gatesfoundation.org


AttachmentSize
2009 11 30 Gates Foundation NTIA Comments.pdf 614.63 KB

Larry Flournoy <flournoy@tamu.edu>

(Late Submission)

--
Larry Flournoy
Associate Director
Academy for Advanced Telecommunication and Learning Technology
Texas A&M University
1700 Research Park
College Station, Texas,
979 862 3982 Main
979 229 2462 Office/Cell (Preferred)
979 862 3983 Fax
flournoy@tamu.edu




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NOFA_RFI.doc 47 KB

Lesley Cooper - McLean <Lesley.Cooper@Spacenet.com>

(Late Submission)
Dear Sir/Madam:

Spacenet Inc. is pleased to offer its comments to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration and Rural Utilities Service in response to the Joint Request for Information on how the broadband stimulus programs of American Recovery and Reinvestments Act can be improved in the second round of funding. Please confirm your receipt of these comments by reply email.

Please contact the undersigned if you have any questions regarding this submission. Thank you very much.

Respectfully submitted,

Lesley B. Cooper
Senior Counsel
Spacenet Inc.
1750 Old Meadow Road
McLean, VA 22102
Direct dial: (703) 848-1188
Fax: (703) 848-1184
mobile: (301) 455-3199

This communication (including any attachments) is intended for the use of the intended recipient(s) only and may contain information that is confidential, privileged or legally protected. Any unauthorized use or dissemination of this communication is strictly prohibited. If you have received this communication in error, please immediately notify the sender by return e-mail message and delete all copies of the original communication. Thank you for your cooperation.


Spacenet Inc. Notice & Disclaimer
IMPORTANT: This e-mail along with any attachment(s) is intended for the above named addressee(s) only, and may contain information which is proprietary, confidential and/or privileged. If you are not the intended recipient or if you received this e-mail transmittal in error, please be advised that any review, copying, use, distribution or dissemination of this e-mail and any attachment(s) is strictly prohibited. Please immediately notify the sender by e-mail or to phone number 703-848-1000 and delete this e-mail and any attachments. Thank you.


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NTIA_RUS_113009.docx 25.87 KB

BHahn <BHahn@americanhomeowners.org>

(Late Submission)
Below and attached are our suggestions for program efficiency improvements to Broadband Initiatives Program and the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program. Please let us know if you have any questions.

Bruce Hahn
President
American Homeowners Foundation

Serving the interests of the nation's 75 million homeowners and future homeowners since 1984.

The American Homeowners Foundation is an educational and research foundation providing information and tools to help consumers make wiser decisions when they buy, sell, remodel, finance or invest in homes.

Visit our web site http://www.americanhomeowners.org. Contact us at: 6776 Little Falls Road, Arlington, VA 22213-1213. Cell: 571-214-1013; Headquarters: 703-536-7776


[cid:image003.jpg@01CA71D3.D9DE67B0]







Program Efficiency Improvement Suggestions



For the





Broadband Initiatives Program



and the



Broadband Technology Opportunities Program









November 30, 2009







Docket No: 0907141137-91375-05







The American Homeowners Foundation (AHF) appreciates the opportunity to offer suggestions on how best to administer the second round of funding for the Broadband Initiatives Program and the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program, in order to improve the applicant experience and maximize the ability of the programs to meet Recovery Act objectives. The AHF is a 501C-3 education and research organization serving the nation’s 70 million homeowners and was one of the first round applicants.



The objectives of the program are most worthy. The federal governments’ allocation of $7.2 billion in stimulus funds to the deployment of broadband to unserved and underserved areas through grants and loans is a wise allocation of federal stimulus funds. The penalty for being on the wrong side of the digital divide increases every day. We must eliminate this divide as soon as possible, both to benefit consumers and the nation’s competitiveness.


The Federal Communications Commission, the Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service and the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration are working diligently to translate funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act into improved access to affordable broadband. RUS and NTIA have put a tremendous amount of effort into communicating to prospective applicants and other stakeholders through broadbandusa.gov, workshops, media outreach, USDA Rural Development field offices and RUS’ General Field Representatives, e-mailings to state economic development organizations, industry and consumer associations, prospective applicants, and state/local government offices nationwide. Just as much effort was put into developing an electronic application system and application processing protocols

As with any such massive undertaking under such tight deadlines, it was inevitable that glitches would develop. To the credit of the FCC, NTIA, and USDA, they have been candid in recognizing the challenges that have occurred, and are being responsive in seeking to address them. The joint request for suggestions to improve the efficiency of the process going forward testifies to that commitment.

Based on AHFs experience in the effort, background research in the process of developing its application, and additional background on the overall challenges regarding broadband deployment gained over recent years, we make the following recommendations for the consideration of FCC, RUS, and NTIA. Our recommendations relate both to the program’s direction and application process.


1. Like many small organizations, AHF found the application process to be technically challenging. While the challenges were probably not difficult for large entities, they were a challenge for our small nonprofit. House Small Business Committee testimony revealed that they were also a challenge for small businesses, and the process was probably a challenge to small local governments who applied or considered applying for the funds as well. Many small, locally-focused organizations are close to the local needs and local resources that can contribute to a successful broadband rollout, and consumers and the program will benefit if barriers to their participation can be reduced. For all these reasons the current online application process should be simplified to the extent possible. Matching contribution, first lien, and other requirements can greatly leverage the taxpayer’s investment but they will exclude many small organizations from offering constructive proposals. For that reason they should be used as evaluation criteria rather than minimum requirements. Definitions of some terms, such as “remote” for last-mile rural remote projects and other applications need to be addressed. RUS and NTIA should make every effort to resolve these issues by the opening of the next round of applications.

2. We are also aware of reports that the application evaluation process has presented a human resource challenge to the agencies because of difficulties finding sufficient numbers of qualified screeners to review the unexpectedly large number of round one applications. In the next round, care must be taken to assure that there are sufficient numbers of reviewers, that they are highly qualified, and that they have adequate time to review each application. Simplifying the application process will make their jobs easier as well.

3. There were limited human resources available to help small organizations with the application process. AHF made numerous efforts to contact government staff that were involved in the application process, but was successful only once. While the person we spoke to tried her best to be helpful, she could not answer several technical questions, and we never heard back from the technical staff we tried to follow up with. Several of the publicly available government phone numbers associated with the process connected applicants only to answering machines that gave no direction as to where to go for additional information and no option for leaving a message. The office of Congressman James Moran reported that numerous constituents were unable to get answers to technical questions regarding the applications. For that reason we suggest that substantial additional staff be provided to help small organizations with the application process in the next round of the effort.

4. When the program was conceived there was little hard data available about the total cost of providing universal broadband access. Recent cost estimates are as much as $350 billion. It is now clear that $7.2 billion won’t come near to providing universal broadband access, much less helping to address the challenges of the underserved. For that reason we suggest that the scope of these programs be narrowed to providing broadband access in areas when it does not exist now and no providers are in the process of providing it. Broadband is available and affordable to many who are underserved, but is by definition completely unavailable to the unserved. We can and should develop a program to subsidize the costs of broadband service for those who cannot afford it, but that should be a separate effort. For that reason we agree with House Small Business Committee Chair Nydia M. Velázquez (D-N.Y.) and 21 committee members who wrote: "It is the Committee's recommendation that funds should be targeted to areas which are first "unserved" and only then to "underserved" areas, if funding remains." To further refine the targeting of the limited ARRA funds it might also make sense to exclude areas where providers are already in the process of developing broadband services because broadband services will be available in the future without ARRA funding.

5. Rural demographics have changed over the years. There are some unserved rural areas today where we believe that adoption rates will be much higher than in other rural areas. Many potential applicants in those areas are unaware of these programs and additional outreach should be made to encourage them to submit proposals. For example the demographics of Stromsburg, Nebraska (in central Nebraska) and Strasburg, Virginia (in the Shenandoah Valley near West Virginia) were very similar thirty years ago. Both of these small rural towns (populations of about 4,000) were primarily agricultural. Stromsburg remains so today, but the population is older and smaller as a large share of the youth has moved to jobs in cities and suburbs. In Strasburg, Virginia many of the farms and nearby mountain homes have been purchased by long distance commuters to jobs in the Washington DC area, 90 miles to the east, and the population has increased. Over the last decade new home developments have been built in Strasburg, and more urban/suburban residents have also bought farms and mountain homes in the area. Towns like Strasburg may be in rural areas, but the demographics of a growing share of its residents more resembles those of urban/suburban residents. Judging from the growing number of park and ride lots in other towns like Strasburg along the Interstate in the Shenandoah Valley, it is likely that the same phenomena is at work in rural areas outside other major U.S. population centers. Despite this fact many local governments, nonprofits, and small businesses in theses “ruburbs” (rural areas with suburban demographics) are unaware of the opportunity to apply for broadband funding. We spoke to government staff in five Shenandoah Valley Virginia towns as well as nonprofit staff at several local Shenandoah Valley nonprofits to gauge the level of awareness. Only one person vaguely remembered reading about the ARRA broadband funding and none could recall having received any information directly. While this is a very small sample statistically, it does suggest that it may be worthwhile to review first round contact efforts to see if there are ways to improve communications with rural stakeholders in the next round (state, tribal, and local governments; nonprofits; industry; anchor institutions, such as libraries, universities, community colleges, and hospitals and public safety organizations).

6. It would be ideal if it were possible to provide the fastest available broadband service to all rural residents. The cost of providing the highest speed broadband can be very expensive in terms of cost per customer, RUS/NTIA will find that in many cases it will be far less expensive to provide relatively fast broadband service to the unserved many than to provide the fastest service to the unserved few. Since there’s not enough money to connect everybody, the latter will be the better course in many instances because many consumers would otherwise have to wait many years for any broadband service at all. These will be subjective decisions, and we should all support the flexibility that RUS and NTIA need to make sensible ARRA grant and contract awards with these trade-offs in mind.

7. The fact that the application process alone was technically challenging for many small entities has significant implications for the administration and management of the entire program. If many applicants find themselves technically challenged by the application process, many of them will also likely find themselves technically challenged in carrying out their contractual responsibilities. This also holds true for public/private partnership and other multiparty applicants. For this reason FCC/RUS/NTIA should consider expanding their ability to provide technical assistance and advice to smaller less sophisticated awardees. These resources will also enhance the agency’s ability to identify and address cases of outright fraud and corruption that are not uncommon with any new large government program. FCC/RUS/NTIA might also want to consider efforts to encourage more participation by technically sophisticated applicants to reduce the need for agency technical assistance and advice. Some large telecom companies reportedly sat out the first round because of perceived restrictions. Those companies have considerable technical expertise. From the standpoint of program performance, it may be worthwhile to review their previous concerns to see if reasonable accommodations could be made so that they would be willing to partner with small local stakeholders or apply on their own in the next round.

8. It may be cost-effective to reallocate some of the funding resources to identifying ways to enhance broadband adoption in the rural areas that will be receiving funding. One of the challenges to rural broadband deployment funding are the lower adoption rates compared to urban and suburban areas. Many of the causes are obvious, and there is some existing research on ways to improve adoption rates. Developing additional research in that area will help improve the ROI of rural broadband funding. While it is outside the scope of this effort, policymakers should seek ways to rebalance programs such as the universal service fund so that it could support broadband services for those who cannot afford it, as well as enacting legislation such as the Broadband Affordability Act.
Because of time constraints, we were unable to quantify the impact of our suggestions based on metrics such as the number of end users or community anchor institutions connecting to service, the number of new jobs created, and the projected increase in broadband adoption rates. This was requested in supporting documents to the FCC’s November 17 press release announcing the RFI, but we hope the aforementioned suggestions may still be useful.
The FCC, RUS, and NTIA deserve the appreciation of consumers for their hard work to help achieve universal broadband availability. The challenges are immense, and we should all recognize that perfection will be impossible given the magnitude of the project and the timelines. These organizations need to be provided the resources to do the job, the flexibility to make decisions they believe appropriate under complex circumstances, and the understanding and support of the public for the challenges they face.




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image003.jpg 10.32 KB
Broadband Initiative efficiency suggestions 11.30.09 (Autosaved).docx 72.37 KB

Gary Fields <glfields@comcast.net>

(Late Submission)
Dear NTIA: Atached you will find a comment in response to your Joint Request for Information published November 16, 2009. Thank you for your consideration.

Docket # 0907141137-91375-05
RIN: 0660-ZA28

Gary L Fields
Chief Financial Officer
National Public Broadband
651-698-7464 Office
651-343-3128 Cell
Gfields@nationalpublicbroadband.org



AttachmentSize
BIP-BTOP RFI comment from NPB.doc 890 KB

William Micklin <wmicklin@leaningrock.net>

(Late Submission)

Lawrence Strickling

Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information

Broadband Technologies Opportunity Program

National Telecommunications and Information Administration

U.S. Department of Commerce

HCHB Room 4887

1401 Constitution Ave, NW

Washington, DC 20230



Jonathan Adelstein

Administrator, Rural Utilities Service

Broadband Initiative Program

U.S. Department of Agriculture

1400 Independence Ave, SW

Washington, DC 20250



Re: Joint RFI–Broadband Initiatives Program and Broadband Technologies Opportunities Program – USDA-RUS-BIP/Commerce-NTIA-BTOP: Joint Request for Information (RIN: 0572-ZA01/RIN: 0660-ZA28; Docket Number: 0907141137-91375-05)

Dear Administrator Adelstein and Assistant Secretary Strickling:

By this letter the California Association of Tribal Governments (“CATG”) electronically submits its comments on the Joint Request for Information on the Broadband Initiatives Program and Broadband Technologies Opportunities Program.

Please direct any questions of CATG to its Executive Director, Mr. Will Micklin at (619) 368-4382. Thank you.

Sincerely,

Matt Franklin, CATG Board Chairman


California Association of Tribal Governments (CATG)
Recommendations for:
Joint RFI–Broadband Initiatives Program and Broadband Technologies Opportunities Program – USDA-RUS-BIP/Commerce-NTIA-BTOP: Joint Request for Information (RIN: 0572-ZA01/RIN: 0660-ZA28; Docket Number: 0907141137-91375-05)

The California Association of Tribal Governments (CATG) fully supports the detailed recommendations outlined in the National Congress of American Indians resolution on the ARRA Broadband funds (“Effective Inclusion of Tribes in the ARRA Broadband Program,” NCAI Resolution #PSP-09-026), and the detailed policy recommendations submitted by the Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association on November 30, 2009.

The CATG also fully supports the detailed recommendations previously provided to the NTIA and RUS by the Native American Broadband Association (NABA), as described below:

(1) Preference for Tribal Providers on Tribal Lands. Both from a legal and from a business efficacy standpoint, Tribes should be given preference for providing services on their own lands. Depending on which points you measure most tribes begin the ARRA process at a 25-40 point deficit, with preference going to incumbents claiming to service over our own tribal lands. For example, the BIP continues to gives existing Title II borrowers preference. Very few Tribes or Indian owned companies are Title II borrowers. Very few Title II borrowers are actually servicing our communities.

Proposed Changes:

· Change Incumbency Preference BIP Title II. The “incumbency” points currently granted to Title II borrowers should go to Title II -OR- a Tribal applicant when the coverage area is over Tribal lands.

· Access to either BIP or BTOP: Particularly in light of the historical issues Tribes have had with USDA the RUS funds, and the broad federal trust responsibility, Tribal applicants for Tribal lands should be able to chose either BIP or BTOP for their application.

· Overlapping Areas. Amend the “overlapping areas” preference from the highest point winner, to the highest Tribal point winner when its over Tribal lands.

· Tribal Approval on Tribal Lands Required. Any non-Tribal provider claiming they will provide service to Tribal lands must have approval from those Tribes.

(2) Sustainability is Measured Differently In Indian Country. While we understand the federal government’s interest in stretching its limited dollars, the criteria outlined in the NOFA perversely benefit those that have the most ability to get broadband access without federal assistance. In many instances there is not a strong profitability incentive in Indian Country, otherwise there would already be service. Tribes as government providers have a number of more creative sustainability options available to them, including tribal government subsidization, taxes, and flexibility in services to their constituents. There must be different considerations weighed on the financial aspects for Tribal projects on Tribal lands.

Proposed Changes:

· Fund SUTA. Use the flexible funds to fund the existing SUTA goals under RUS to encourage Tribal projects on Tribal lands.

· BIP: Waive Loan-Grant Ratio Preference for Remote Projects. Remote communities can apply for full grants, yet are still subject to a 10 point loss for the loan-grant ratio. Remote applications should be defaulted to the full 10 points.

· BTOP: Waive Matching Requirement. Waive the 20% matching funds requirements for Tribal remote projects on Tribal lands. There is strong precedent for waiving federal matching requirements for Tribal projects because of the federal trust obligation of federal tribal trust lands.

· Sustainability grants. Provide sustainability grants to Indian projects on Indian lands to help augment the sustainability requirements.

(3) Consultation/Follow-Up. It is clear from the final NOFA that little to no of the Tribal input was incorporated.

Proposed Changes

· Tribal Prioritization. Tribal governments should be provided an equal opportunity to provide prioritization information. There should be a separate Tribal prioritization process and Tribes should be included in the state boards doing the state prioritization.

· Ability to Cure. Applicants for the first round should be provided information about any technical issues with their applications and given the opportunity to cure before final decisions are made.

· Tribal Reviewers. Tribal projects are different. The NTIA and RUS must have Indian Country reviewers that understand the unique jurisdictional and business model issues on Indian lands.

The definition of Indian Country” is currently defined as: “(a) all land within the limits of any Indian reservation under the jurisdiction of the United States Government, notwithstanding the issuance of any patent, and, including rights-of-way running through the reservation; (b) all dependent Indian communities within the borders of the United States whether within the original or subsequently acquired territory thereof, and whether within or without the limits of a state; and (c) all Indian allotments, the Indian titles to which have not been extinguished, including rights-of-way running through the same. 18 U.S.C. § 1151.” For the purpose of this document, Indian Country is intended to also include Alaska Native Villages, Native Hawaiian Homeland, and Trust lands. This use of a criminal statute as a definition of Indian Country is inappropriate and results in potential ineligibility for many tribal governments’ tribal lands, and especially those tribal governments without a tribal land base in the State of California and Alaska. The Commission cannot use “Indian Country,” “Tribal areas,” and “Tribal lands” interchangeably unless based upon an appropriate definition. See RURAL BROADBAND REPORT at para. 31 n.54. The CATG recommends the NTIA and RUS amend their definition of tribal lands to the following definition: “The terms Tribal Lands, Indian Country, Reservation, or tribal trust lands shall mean American Indian Area, Alaska Native Area, Hawaiian Home Land (AIANAHH) as used by the US Census Bureau referring to the following types of geographic areas: federal and state American Indian reservations, American Indian off-reservation trust land (individual or tribal), Oklahoma tribal statistical area (in 1990 tribal jurisdictional statistical area), tribal designated statistical area, state designated American Indian statistical area, Alaska Native Regional Corporation, Alaska Native village statistical area, and Hawaiian home lands.”

Finally, CATG recommends the associated activity that is the NTIA digital mapping program under the charge of the NTIA is of such important to subsequent rounds of the NOFA be addressed. (Department of Commerce, National Telecommunications and Information Administration, State Broadband Data and Development Grant Program, Docket No. 0660-ZA29, Notice of Funds Availability, 74 Fed. Reg. 32545, 32555 (July 8, 2009) (NTIA State Mapping NOFA) /the entity designated by states to receive NTIA funding for all lands within a state owned by the state, in fee, or by tribes presents a significant problem for tribes. In paragraph 58 of the Section 706 Sixth Report NOI the Commission recognized the dearth of information regarding broadband deployment on Tribal lands. In this same NOI the Commission acknowledged “that some state-sponsored and private mapping efforts may not encompass all areas or all providers within a particular state” while “recogniz[ing] the importance of including all rural areas, particularly Tribal lands, in federal mapping efforts.” Historical fact again shows that states have not provided intended services to tribal lands even when the recipient of funding from authorizing legislation and/or regulation that clearly intends it. CATG recommends NTIA take such measures as are necessary to ensure tribal lands are adequately and timely mapped for purposes of the NTIA-RUS BIP-BTOP NOFA applicants, which includes directing funds to tribes or inter-tribal government organizations, like CATG, to complete the digital mapping project for all tribal lands. The CATG recommends the Native American Broadband Association to NTIA-RUS for further discussion of this question.





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CATG NTIA-RUS BIP-BTOP Comments 113009 signed pdf.pdf 830.11 KB

"wallyb@main.nc.us" <wallyb@main.nc.us>

(Late Submission)
Please see attached comments from the nonprofit Mountain Area
Information Network (MAIN) in Asheville, N.C.


Wally Bowen
Executive Director
Mountain Area Information Network (MAIN)
WPVM-LP 103.5 FM Asheville, N.C.
http://www.main.nc.us
wallyb@main.nc.us

AttachmentSize
BIPBTOPcomment.doc 18 KB

"Farquhar, Michele C." <MCFarquhar@HHLAW.com>

(Late Submission)



Michele Farquhar, Partner
HOGAN & HARTSON LLP
Columbia Square, 555 Thirteenth Street, NW, Washington, DC 20004
direct +1.202.637.5663 | tel +1.202.637.5600 | fax +1.202.637.5910
mcfarquhar@hhlaw.com | http://www.hhlaw.com

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FiberTower and RTG -- BTOP BIP Second RFI Comments (11-30-09).doc 78.5 KB

U.S. Representative Nydia Velázquez and 20 additional U.S. Representatives

(Late Submission)


Jonathan Glass <jglass@counciltree.com>

(Late Submission)
To Whom it May Concern:

Please find attached the comments of Native Broadband Satellite, LLC in response to the joint Request for Information issued by the Rural Utilities Service and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.

Thank You

Jonathan Glass
Coucil Tree Investors
80 Broad Street, 5th Floor
New York, NY 10004
(o) 212-286-8702
(m) 917-847-0781
(f) 917-591-4507
jglass@counciltree.com



The information transmitted is intended only for the person or entity to which it is addressed and may contain confidential and/or privileged material. Any review, retransmission, dissemination or other use of, or taking of any action in reliance upon, this information by persons or entities other than the intended recipient is prohibited. If you received this in error, please contact the sender and delete the material from any computer.
Email management, archiving & monitoring technology powered by Smarsh, Inc.


AttachmentSize
NBS 2ndRound RFI Comments to NTIA - RUS 11_30_09_final.pdf 56.87 KB

"McDermott, Mary" <mcdermottm@ntelos.com>

(Late Submission)
Attached are the comments of NTELOS in response to the Request for Information published on November 16th in the Federal Register. The attached are in WORD (Compatibility Mode). The Federal Register notice was not completely clear as to which formats were acceptable for electronic comments. Please notify me if you prefer a PDF. Thank you.

Mary McDermott
Senior Vice President-Legal and Regulatory Affairs
NTELOS
401 Spring Lane, Waynesboro, VA 22980
Email: mcdermottm@ntelos.com
Phone: (540) 946-8677
Fax: (540) 946-3595


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NTELOS Comments in Response to RFI.doc 39.5 KB

"Brian B.K. Min" <bmin@nubron.com>

(Late Submission)
Please find the attached BIP/BTOP RFI response, in both Word and pdf formats. Thank you.



Brian B.K. Min
Nubron Inc.
3160 De La Cruz Blvd., Ste 207
Santa Clara, CA 95054
1-408-855-0009 (w)
1-650-799-1572 (m)


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BTOP_RFI_Response_NUBRON_INC_Signed.pdf 42.95 KB
BTOP_RFI_Response_NUBRON_INC.doc 44 KB

Marty Kluh <mkluh@jsitel.com>

(Late Submission)
The attached comments are filed herewith on behalf of John Staurulakis, Inc. in response to the Rural Utilities Service and National Telecommunications and Information Administration Joint Request for Information in the Broadband Initiatives Program and Broadband Technology Opportunities Program.
Thank you.
<> <>
Marty Kluh
Staff Consultant - Regulatory Affairs
John Staurulakis, Inc.
7852 Walker Drive, Suite 200
Greenbelt, Maryland 20770
(301) 459-7590 phone
(301) 577-5575 fax
mkluh@jsitel.com

________________________________________
CONFIDENTIAL: This e-mail message and any attachments are confidential. They are only intended for the person or persons to whom the e-mail is addressed. Any unauthorized use, disclosure, storage, copying, retransmission or distribution of the contents of this e-mail or its attachments or taking any action based upon the information contained in them is strictly prohibited. If you have received this communication in error, please delete the e-mail immediately and contact the sender.


AttachmentSize
JSI Transmittal Letter Response to Joint RFI 11 30 09.doc 50 KB
BB RFI Comments 11 30 09.doc 154 KB

"Stiefel, Justin" <justin@sjgdc.com>

(Late Submission)
Comments submitted by Caption Colorado and Barling Bay, LLC for the November 16, 2009 BIP/BTOP RFI are attached.



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Nov 16 2009 RFI CaptionColorado.BarlingBay comments final.pdf 39.97 KB

"Andros, Peter" <PAndros@PattonBoggs.com>

(Late Submission)
Attached for filing in the above referenced docket please find the comments of Educational Services Network, Corp. I can be contacted at this email or the phone number listed below if any additional information is required. Thank you.

Peter Andros
Sr. Paralegal
Patton Boggs LLP
202-457-6472
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This e-mail and all other electronic (including voice) communications from the sender's firm are for informational purposes only. No such communication is intended by the sender to constitute either an electronic record or an electronic signature, or to constitute any agreement by the sender to conduct a transaction by electronic means. Any such intention or agreement is hereby expressly disclaimed unless otherwise specifically indicated. To learn more about our firm, please visit our website at http://www.pattonboggs.com.


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BIP-BTOP Ed Serv Net Comments 11-30-09.PDF 215.69 KB

Tammy Hedge <THedge@htcplus.com>

(Late Submission)
Please find attached the comments of Home Town Cable TV, LLC in response to the RFI.


Tammy Hedge
Chief Financial Officer
Home Town Cable TV LLC.

772-201-0563 office
772-345-0999 fax


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Home Town NTIA RFI Comments 11-30-09.pdf 16.22 KB

"Jennifer.Bruyere@lw.com" <Jennifer.Bruyere@lw.com>

(Late Submission)
Attached please find the comments of Cricket Communications, Inc. to the Joint Request for Information. Please note that the attached document contains a minor correction, and the previously filed version should be disregarded.

<>

*******************************************************************************
To comply with IRS regulations, we advise you that any discussion of Federal tax issues in this
e-mail was not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used by you, (i) to avoid any penalties
imposed under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) to promote, market or recommend to another party any
transaction or matter addressed herein.

For more information please go to http://www.lw.com/docs/irs.pdf
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AttachmentSize
Cricket Corrected.pdf 88.06 KB

"Miron, Luc" <lmiron@state.pa.us>

(Late Submission)
Good afternoon,

On behalf of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, please find enclosed the state’s response to the joint Request for Information (RFI) related to Round 2 implementation of BTOP and BIP programs. Could you please acknowledge receipt of this email? Thanks in advance.

And thank you for the opportunity to provide input.

Luc M. Miron



Luc M Miron | Manager
Broadband Stimulus Initiatives
PA Office of Administration
611 Health & Welfare Bldg | Hbg PA 17120
Phone: 717.705.5462 | Fax: 717.705.6499
E-mail: lmiron@state.pa.us
www.oa.state.pa.us



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Commonwealth of PA_RFI_response_Nov25_2009.pdf 783.68 KB

Kathryn Vescio <KVescio@nysac.org>

(Late Submission)
Please find the attached comments in response to the Request for Information published in the Federal Register on Monday November 16, 2009 by the Department of Commerce and the Department of Agriculture. These comments are in regards to the Broadband Initiatives Program (BIP) and the Broadband Technologies Opportunities Program (BTOP). Copies of these comments will also be mailed to the addresses provided for each agency.

Sincerely,
Katy Vescio


Katy Vescio
Legislative Coordinator
New York State Association of Counties
540 Broadway
Albany, New York 12207
(518) 465-1473 p
(518) 465-0506 f
www.nysac.org

Confidentiality Notice: This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential and intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom they are addressed. If you have received this email in error please notify the sender immediately. Please note that any views or opinions presented in this email are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the New York State Association of Counties. Finally, the recipient should check this email and any attachments for the presence of viruses. The New York State Association of Counties accepts no liability for any damage caused by any virus transmitted by this email.


AttachmentSize
RUS comments for RFI.pdf 125.72 KB
NTIA comments for RFI.pdf 124.89 KB

Tony Veach <tveach@bennetlaw.com>

(Late Submission)
To Whom it May Concern:

Please find attached the comments of Pioneer Communications, Inc. in response to the joint Request for Information issued by the Rural Utilities Service and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.

Thank You.



Tony Veach
Bennet & Bennet, PLLC
4350 East-West Highway, Suite 201
Bethesda, MD 20814
Direct: 202/551-0016
Main: 202/371-1500
Fax: 202/371-1558
Email: tveach@bennetlaw.com
www.bennetlaw.com







______________________
The information transmitted is intended only for the person or entity to which it is addressed and may contain confidential and/or privileged material. Any review, retransmission, dissemination, or other use of this information, directly or indirectly, by persons or entities other than the intended recipient is prohibited. If you received this in error, please contact the sender and delete the material from all computers in which it resides.


AttachmentSize
Comments - BTOP-BIP - RUS NTIA RFI - Pioneer Communications Inc.docx.pdf 121.13 KB

"Jennifer.Bruyere@lw.com" <Jennifer.Bruyere@lw.com>

(Late Submission)
Attached are comments of Cricket Communications, Inc. in response to the joint request for information.

<>

*******************************************************************************
To comply with IRS regulations, we advise you that any discussion of Federal tax issues in this
e-mail was not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used by you, (i) to avoid any penalties
imposed under the Internal Revenue Code or (ii) to promote, market or recommend to another party any
transaction or matter addressed herein.

For more information please go to http://www.lw.com/docs/irs.pdf
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Latham & Watkins LLP




AttachmentSize
Cricket.pdf 88.04 KB

U.S. Rep. Walt Minnick

(Late Submission)


Fred Pilot <fpilot@caminofiber.net>

(Late Submission)
See attached Office Word file.

--
Fred Pilot
Founder and President
Camino Fiber Network Cooperative
P.O. Box 355
Camino, CA 95709

http://caminofiber.net
fpilot@caminofiber.net

530-295-1473





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RFI comments second NOFA.docx 25.47 KB

Brian Roberts <Brian.Roberts@sfgov.org>

(Late Submission)
Attached find the City and County of San Francisco's comments on the Round 2 BTOP RFI



Brian Roberts
Dept. of Technology
City and County of San Francisco
One South Van Ness Avenue, Second Floor
San Francisco, CA 94103
Phone: 415-581-4061


AttachmentSize
NTIA BTOP Round 2 Comments SF Final.pdf 194.68 KB

"Robinson, Nicole H - HPL" <NicoleH.Robinson@cityofhouston.net>

(Late Submission)
Dear Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) Administrators,

The City of Houston, as represented through the regional coalition of public entities from the Houston, Harris County region of Texas, is pleased to submit the attached comments in response to the BTOP NOFA 2 RFI Docket No. 090309298-9299-01.

Respectfully,

Nicole H. Robinson
Director, Digital Inclusion/HPL
City of Houston
832.393.1559




AttachmentSize
HHCC_Comments_NOFA2.pdf 5.09 MB

Jim Dolgonas <jdolgonas@cenic.org>

(Late Submission)
Enclosed below and in the attached are CENIC's response to joint NTIA/RUS Joint Request for comments.

CORPORATION FOR EDUCATION INITIATIVES IN CALIFORNIA (CENIC)
COMMENTS TO NTIA AND RUS ON THE 2ND ROUND NOFA
November 27, 2009

Executive Summary
CENIC believes the second round of awards in the BTOP/BIP program are pivotal in laying the foundation to move this nation from “first generation broadband” to “next generation connectivity”, as recently described in a major study completed by the Harvard University Berkman Center for the FCC. According to the study, entitled “Next Generation Connectivity: A review of broadband Internet transitions and policy around the world” achieving “next generation connectivity” involves two overlapping foci­deploying high bandwidth capacity (best done with the nearly unlimited capacity of fiber) and providing the user ubiquitous, seamless connectivity. We make two key recommendations as to how the second round proposal guidelines might be framed to move this nation closer to the goal of “next generation connectivity”.

1. Make Anchor Institutions the Keystone to Future Infrastructure Deployment
CENIC subscribes to the Schools, Libraries and Health (SHLB) Coalition definition that anchor institutions include schools, hospitals and libraries. CENIC would also add emergency service and community based organizations to this group of anchor institutions.

Collectively anchor institutions form the nucleus of the socio-economic system in a community by providing what is needed for personal safety, health and intellectual/social development. Access to the services of these anchor institutions by individual citizens has been and must continue to be a major pillar in our society not only now but for generations to come.

Of the various types of anchor institutions CENIC contends that educational institutions are the major drivers of intellectual, social and economic development in any community. If not the major employer in the community, they are among the leaders and engage more of the population in the geographic area in the use of networking during the course of the day than any other entity. In essence education institutions are the equivalent of a mooring (a permanent anchor) for all other anchor institutions. Still, the real pay off is when a project involves multiple anchor institutions in a community.

2. Deploy Scalable Underlying Technologies
The current broadband network infrastructure across this nation is comprised of a mixture of underlying technologies­cable, copper, fiber, satellite and wireless. With the exception of fiber, all of these technologies have serious limitations in terms of being able to scale and expand transmission (speed) capacity to meet the evolving needs and requirements of the users. CENIC suggests that as part of the second round criteria that proposals that deploy fiber as the underlying technology receive major weighting consideration.


I. Introduction
CENIC appreciates the opportunity to provide comments and make suggestions to NTIA and RUS on how the NOFA guidelines might be adjusted for the second round of proposals. We believe our over 12 years of experience engaged in deploying and managing an advanced high bandwidth statewide network infrastructure connecting hundreds of universities and colleges and K-12 schools to provide ubiquitous, seamless connectivity for the nearly 10 million students, faculty and staff involved in California’s research and education enterprise provides a unique perspective in how to manage the challenges our country faces in providing next-generation connectivity to our diverse communities.

While only 12 years old CENIC can trace its heritage back 40 years to the day in 1969 when a UCLA professor and his graduate students first demonstrated the ability to transmit data over long distances­between UCLA, Stanford and UC Santa Barbara. From that day through today the universities in California have been at the forefront in advancing networking, not only for research and education, but the larger surrounding communities they support. From 1969 until the formation of CENIC in 1997 a number of separate organizations provided networking for California’s research and education community. With the creation of CENIC the research and education enterprise in California consolidated its efforts and established a goal to achieve “next generation connectivity” throughout California. For more information on CENIC and its endeavors, please visit http://www.cenic.org/

It is from this heritage and experience base that CENIC offers the NTIA and RUS two key recommendations as to how the second round proposal guidelines might be framed to move this nation closer to the goal of “next generation connectivity”. In addition to these recommendations, CENIC offers specific responses to the questions asked by NTIA and RUS in the RFI.

II. CENIC Recommendations
A. Make Anchor Institutions the Keystone to Future Infrastructure Deployment
CENIC subscribes to the SHLB Coalition definition that anchor institutions include schools, hospitals and libraries. CENIC would also add emergency service and community based organizations to this group of anchor institutions.

Collectively the anchor institutions form the nucleus of the socio-economic system in the community by providing what is needed for personal safety, health and intellectual/social development. Access to the services of these anchor institutions by individual citizens has been and must be a major pillar in our society for generations to come.

Of all these anchor institutions CENIC contends the education institutions are the major drivers of intellectual, social and economic development in any community. If not the major employer in the community, they are among the leaders and engage more of the population in the geographic area in the use of networking during the course of the day than any other entity. In essence education institutions are the equivalent of a mooring (a permanent anchor) for all other anchor institutions. Still, the real pay off is when a project involves multiple anchor institutions in a community.

B. Deploy Scalable Underlying Technology
The current broadband network infrastructure across this nation is comprised of a mixture of underlying technologies­cable, copper, fiber, satellite and wireless. With the exception of fiber, all of these technologies have serious limitations in terms of being able to scale and expand transmission (speed) capacity to meet the evolving needs and requirements of the users.

CENIC suggests that as part of the second round criteria that proposals that deploy fiber as the underlying technology be given major weighting consideration.

In the remainder of this document CENIC offers responses to the questions asked in the RFI issued by NTIA/RUS.

III. The Application and Review Process
A. Streamlining the Applications
CENIC concurs with NTIA and RUS that the BTOP/BIP proposal process should be streamlined for the second round. CENIC suggests the initial Round 2 applications only be required to provide the minimum data necessary to make a judgment on the merits of the proposal. If a proposal is judged to have merit then specific and detailed data should be collected as part of due diligence leading to a final decision on awarding funds. We point you to the SHLB Coalition and QUILT comments for specific suggested changes in the process.

1. New Entities
What type of information should RUS and NTIA request from new businesses, particularly those created for the purpose of applying for grants or funds?

A new business should be required to submit evidence of incorporation and simple financial viability­financial plan.





2. Consortium and Private Public Partnerships
Should certain critical information be requested from all members of such groups? If so, what type of information should be requested?

The major partners (at least two) should be requested to provide critical information as part of the proposal. The critical information should demonstrate organizational and financial stability and experience necessary to implement the proposed project. There should be pointers in the proposal to the websites of the other participants.

3. Specification of Service Areas
What level of data collection and documentation should be required of applicants to establish boundaries of the proposed funded service areas?

Minimize the data collected initially to those data vital necessary to make the judgment on the merits of the proposal. If a proposal is judged to have merit then in the due diligence phase collect the specific and detailed data vital to making a final decision on funding the proposal.

4. Relationship between BIP and BTOP
Should these kind of rural applications continue to be required to be submitted to RUS or should the agencies permit rural applications to be submitted directly to NTIA without having to be submitted to RUS?

No. This requirement leads to duplication both for the submitter and the two agencies. It should be left to the proposing party whether or not to submit directly to NTIA only or to both NTIA and RUS.

How should the NTIA and RUS proceed in a manner that rewards the leveraging of resources and most efficient use of Federal funds?

CENIC advocates rewarding proposals that are built upon making the anchor institutions the keystone to deploying broadband to the wider community in the geographic area. CENIC also advocates rewarding proposals that deploy underlying technology infrastructure that can scale in capacity over time and that could be shared to support non anchor tenants with broadband as well.

CENIC also suggests lowering the matching funding requirement to ten (10) percent.

CENIC believes the 20 percent matching funding requirement is a major barrier that will preclude worthy applications from being developed and submitted in the second round. The fact that unserved and underserved areas exist today is directly attributable to the economics of these situations. For the past two decades telecommunications providers have focused on deploying broadband capabilities in major metropolitan (NFL cities) where they could project a return on their investments.

Some combination of population density, geographic distance and economic status of the consumers (ability to pay) have been the major factors that have resulted in the telecommunications providers determining whether or not an area is served, unserved or underserved. CENIC believes the economic factor of reaching the remaining unserved and underserved areas will be the major challenge in second round applications.
Therefore, CENIC recommends the NOFA guidelines for the second round only have a 10 percent matching funding requirement. And, applications without any match not be discouraged since there may be rare instances where a project has merit to receive 100 percent funding.

B. Transparency and Confidentiality
Should the public be given greater access to application data submitted to BIP and BTOP? Which data should be made publicly available and which data should be considered confidential or proprietary? Right now only the executive summary is made publicly available.

Every proposal should have an executive summary posted. The summary should include a list of standard data elements especially the underlying technology being used, project cost and service area.

C. Outreach and Support
What methods of outreach were most effective? What should be done differently?

The outreach methods in Round #1 worked well. It is important for NTIA and RUS to make sure the FAQs are kept current throughout Round #2.

D. NTIA Expert Review Process
Should NTIA continue to rely on unpaid experts as reviewers? Or, should NTIA consider using solely Federal or contractor staff?

CENIC recommends the continued use of unpaid experts as the best approach. Federal or contractor staff should be used only as last resort. CENIC suggests NTIA and RUS adopt the NSF’s grant review process to better handle the potential conflict of interest issues for expert reviewers.

IV. The Policy Issues Addressed in NOFA
A. Funding Priorities and Objectives
How can the NTIA and RUS better target the remaining funds to achieve the goals of the Recovery Act?

CENIC recommends second round funds be targeted to projects that provide broadband capabilities to interconnect anchor institutions in a community to serve as the nucleus for broader deployment in a geographic area over the long range. Collectively the anchor institutions form the nucleus of the socio-economic system in the community by providing what is needed for personal safety, health and intellectual/social development. Access to the services of these anchor institutions by individual citizens has been and must be a major pillar in our society for generations to come.

1. Middle Mile “Comprehensive Community” projects
Should priority be given to those middle mile projects in which there are commitments from last mile service providers to use the middle mile networks to serve end users?

No. CENIC suggests priority be given to projects that involve the anchor institutions. Bonus points should be given when last mile providers are also involved.








Should we target projects that create comprehensive communities by installing high capacity middle mile facilities between anchor institutions that bring essential health, medical and educational services to citizens that they may not have today?

Yes. CENIC subscribes to the Schools Hospitals and Libraries Coalition (SHLB) definition of anchor institutions and would add emergency service entities to this group of anchor institutions.

Should certain institutions such as educational facilities be given greater weight to reflect their impact on economic development or a greater need or use for broadband services? If so, what specific information should RUS and NTIA request?

Yes. Of all the anchor institutions CENIC contends the education institutions engage more of the population in any geographic area during the course of the day than another entity. In essence education is the mooring (permanent anchor) for all the anchor institutions. However, the real pay off is when a project involves multiple anchor institutions in a community.

How important is the private-public partnership aspect to sustainability?

It will depend on the specific circumstance. While cooperation of the public and private sectors may help sustainability of projects in some cases, CENIC believes it should not be a requirement in the second round guidelines.

Should NTIA consider the number of existing community anchor institutions that intend to connect to the middle mile network as well as number of unserved and underserved communities and vulnerable populations?

Yes.

How should RUS and NTIA encourage appropriate levels of non-Federal matching funds to be contributed so that Federal funds can be maximized?

The response to III.A.4 also applies here.

What extent should geographic footprint as well as overlap with existing service providers be considered?

This is an important consideration. However, two factors need to be considered­underlying technology and low cost to users. If either of those factors is missing then proposals need to be considered.

2. Economic Development
Should the RUS and NTIA seek applications for projects that would systematically link broadband deployment to a variety of complementary economic actions such as workforce training, entrepreneurial development through targeted regional economic development strategic plans?

No. However, applications that demonstrate linkage to a variety of economic actions should be given additional points.



Should there be priority to states or regions with high unemployment or exceptional economic hardship?

No. This program has long-term goal to connect all citizens to broadband. Targeting current high unemployment regions may or may not help achieve this goal. However projects with current high unemployment rates should be given additional points.

3. Targeted Populations
Should the RUS and NTIA allocate a portion of the remaining funds to specific population groups, e.g. tribal entities or public housing?

No. Rather, projects that include serving specific groups that traditionally are unserved or underserved should be given additional weight in making the awards.

B. Program Definitions
1. Unserved and Undeserved
Current definitions of unserved and underserved are unclear and overly restrictive – how should these definitions be revised? Should they be modified to include a factor for affordability or socioeconomic composition of a defined service area? Should agencies adopt more objective and readily verifiable measures? How should satellite-based proposals be evaluated against these criteria?

CENIC believes next round funding should focus on anchor institutions as the priority. Those proposals that also provide services to unserved and underserved areas should receive higher ranking in the award process.

2. Definition of Broadband
Should the definition of broadband include a higher speed and should the speeds relate to the types of projects? Should the agencies incorporate actual speeds into the definition of broadband and forego using advertised speeds? If so, how can actual speeds be consistency measured?

No. The definition of broadband today will not satisfy the requirements of tomorrow. Therefore, instead of relating speed with types of applications, proposals that demonstrate an ability to increase the broadband speed by using scalable underlying technology to meet the needs and requirements in the future should be given greater weight in making the awards.

3. Definition of Remote Area
Current definition of remote area is 50 miles from a non-rural area. Should this definition be modified? Are there other factors in determining award decision besides distance? E.g. income levels, geographic barriers, population densities

CENIC believes distance is not the best criterion to define a remote area. CENIC recommends the priority order of the criteria should be geographic barriers, population densities, income levels, and distance in miles.






C. Public Notice of Service Areas
Current process allows for existing broadband services providers to comment on the applicants’ assertions funded service to areas either unserved or underserved. How should the public notice process be refined to address this concern? What other verification methods could be established? Should the public notice process be superseded where data becomes available through mapping efforts? What type of information should be collected from the entity questioning the service area and what should be publicly disclosed?

CENIC agrees that existing broadband service providers must be allowed to comment on proposals. However, the service provider filing the comment must provide concrete evidence it is providing the required services. Its data should include the penetration rates, the underlying technology being used and the cost for services. This information should be publicly disclosed.

D. Interconnection and Nondiscrimination Requirements
Although RUS/NTIA are not inclined to make significant changes to the Interconnection and Non-discrimination issues, are any minor adjustments to these requirements necessary?

No changes are necessary.

E. Sale of Project Assets
Some have commented this language is a barrier to participation in BIP and BTOP. Should this section be revised to adopt a more flexible approach toward awardee mergers, consistent with USDA and DOC regulations while still ensuring that awardees are not receiving unjust enrichment from the sale of award funded assets?

CENIC believes mergers should be allowed that are consistent with USDA and DOC regulations as long as the awardees are not able to profit from the merger.

Summary

CENIC appreciates the opportunity to provide this feedback. As a non-profit that has provided advanced networking to nearly 10 million people involved in the California research and education community for over a decade, we understand the importance of enabling all citizens in this country access to the very best in network access. We believe our recommendations to use anchor institutions as the keystone to future infrastructure deployment with scalable underlying technologies will strongly support the BTOP/BIP program to help accelerate advanced broadband capabilities to all.













ATTACHMENT #1


[cid:7.1.0.9.2.20091128075022.04e96858@cenic.org.0]
California's education and research communities leverage their networking resources under CENIC, the Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California, in order to obtain cost-effective, high-bandwidth networking to support their missions and answer the needs of their faculty, staff, and students. For more information, please visit http://www.cenic.org/


CENIC designs, implements, and operates CalREN, the California Research and Education Network, a high-bandwidth, high-capacity Internet network specially designed to meet the unique requirements of these communities, and to which the vast majority of the state's K-20 educational institutions are connected. In order to facilitate collaboration in education and research, CENIC also provides connectivity to non-California institutions and industry research organizations with which CENIC's Associate researchers and educators are engaged.

CalREN consists of a CENIC-operated backbone to which schools and other institutions in all 58 of California's counties connect via leased circuits obtained from telecom carriers or fiber-optic cable. In the map to the left, the CalREN backbone fiber network is shown in white, while orange circles indicate network connection points or circuit aggregation facilities.

CENIC is governed by its member institutions. Representatives from these institutions also donate expertise through their participation in various councils designed to ensure that CENIC meets the needs of its constituencies and that the network evolves as technology advances.



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clip_image002.jpg 19.45 KB
CENIC Response to NTIAandRUSRd2.pdf 158.79 KB

Sal Taillefer <sta@bloostonlaw.com>

(Late Submission)
To Whom It May Concern:

Attached please find the comments of Penasco Valley Telephone Cooperative, Inc., in response to the Agencies’ RFI Docket No. 0907141137-91375-05.

Thank you


Salvatore Taillefer. Jr.
Blooston, Mordkofsky, Dickens, Duffy & Prendergast, LLP
2120 L Street, NW Suite 300
Washington, DC 20037
Tel. (202) 828-5562
Fax. (202) 828-5568
This message and any attached documents contain information which may be confidential, subject to privilege or exempt from disclosure under applicable law. These materials are intended only for the use of the intended recipient. If you are not the intended recipient of this transmission, you are hereby notified that any distribution, disclosure, printing, copying, storage, modification or the taking of any action in reliance upon this transmission is strictly prohibited. Delivery of this message to any person other than the intended recipient shall not compromise or waive such confidentiality, privilege or exemption from disclosure as to this communication. If you have received this communication in error, please immediately notify the sender and delete the message from your system.


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Response to RFI - Comments of PVT for NOFA 2.pdf 78.05 KB

Tom Karalis <tkaralis@fwainc.com>

(Late Submission)
Please find the attached Comments from Fred Williamson & Associates, Inc.

Thank you,

Tom Karalis
Fred Williamson & Associates, Inc.
918.298.1618 - office
918.636.1313 - cell
918.299.2569 - fax





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FWA - ARRA Comments.doc 49 KB

Joycelyn Tate <joycelyntate@gmail.com>

(Late Submission)
Attached are the Comments of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation's Black Women's Roundtable.

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Comments of the Nat'l Coalition on Black Civic Participation-Black Women's Roundtable.doc 62.5 KB

Timothy Tyndall

(Late Submission)
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Rural Utilities Service
Broadband Initiatives Program
RIN: 0572-ZA01
DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
National Telecommunications and Information Administration
Broadband Technology Opportunities Program
RIN: 0660-ZA28
Docket No: 0907141137-91375-05


Re: II. Policy Issues Addressed in the NOFA
A. Funding Priorities and Objectives

I served as a reviewer for the first round of BTOP grants. Following the reviews I have visited 114 of the 250 rural communities we have served through previous USDA RUS distance learning and telemedicine grant funding to meet with residents and discuss how to best bring their communities into the BIP/BTOP funding program.

The most recurrent comment I have received had to do with the issue of very small rural communities not being able to compete with large, state or regional efforts primarily because of small population (last mile end-user) and core anchor agency statistics. There was additional concern expressed regarding the very significant difference in support staff availability for the preparation of the grants with very small rural communities.

Most of the rural communities I have held meetings with have populations between 400 and 1,500. This is a cause for concern because these rural areas have seen in the past that they are typically left without broadband access by large service providers because of their small size and there is unexpectedly vocal concern concerning the low priority these same very small rural communities will receive during the planning and roll-out of large regional or statewide broadband projects.

I would recommend that consideration be given to the needs of these communities, prioritizing a portion of Federal funding specifically for very small rural communities. These small communities make up a tremendous part of the National rural profile and rarely benefit from large Statewide or regional programs.

Although large statistical benefit can be gained through funding of Statewide and regional proposals I believe an equal, and potentially greater end result for the BIP/BTOP funding will be achieved if a large number of very small rural communities are given an opportunity to take advantage of the available funding.

The larger projects typically require very large grant and grant/loan budgets and draw on a significant percentage of total funding available without a guarantee that the result of these larger projects will have any greater impact in very rural, small community areas than the impact already achieved by large carriers such as AT&T and Verizon.

I would be happy to meet with the Committee to review specific community concerns and share additional details from our meetings.

Thank you,

Timothy

Timothy Tyndall
Director
Visible Light / RAIN Rural Development Network
1562 Cougar Ridge Road
Buellton, CA. 93427
Phone: 805-708-0127
Email: timothy@rain.org



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btop reply letter.pdf 23.44 KB
tyndall-resume - 2009-BTOP-Grant-Review.pdf 46.69 KB

U.S. Reps. Joe Barton & Cliff Stearns

(Late Submission)


Jill Nishi <Jill.Nishi@gatesfoundation.org>

(Late Submission)
Please find attached comments submitted by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. We are resubmitting our comments stamped at 1:21 p.m. as the attachment does not appeared to have come through.

Jill Nishi
Deputy Director
U.S. Libraries Initiative
V +1.206.709.3502
F +1.206.709.3280
E jill.nishi@gatesfoundation.org
Assistant Cathy Hawley
V +1.206.709.3156
E cathy.hawley@gatesfoundation.org
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
www.gatesfoundation.org


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2009 11 30 Gates Foundation NTIA Comments.pdf 614.63 KB

"leera@gtlaw.com" <leera@gtlaw.com>

(Late Submission)
To Whom it May Concern:

Please find attached, in PDF format, comments from TracFone Wireless, Inc. in response to the Request for Information in Docket Number 0907141137-91375-05.

Also attached in Word (2003) format is a copy of the comments, without the attachments since they were in PDF format and unable to be converted.

Should you have any questions please contact Mitchell F. Brecher, counsel to TracFone Wireless, Inc.

Thank you.

Raymond Lee
Administrative Assistant
Greenberg Traurig LLP | 2101 L Street N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20037
Tel 202.533.2346 | Fax 202.331.3101
leera@gtlaw.com | www.gtlaw.com

Mitchell Brecher
Shareholder
Greenberg Traurig LLP | 2101 L Street N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20037
Tel 202.331.3152 | Fax 202.261.0152 | Cell 301-509-8998
BRECHERM@gtlaw.com | www.gtlaw.com


PLEASE CONSIDER THE ENVIRONMENT BEFORE PRINTING THIS EMAIL


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The information contained in this transmission may contain privileged and confidential information. It is intended only for the use of the person(s) named above. If you are not the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any review, dissemination, distribution or duplication of this communication is strictly prohibited. If you are not the intended recipient, please contact the sender by reply email and destroy all copies of the original message. To reply to our email administrator directly, please send an email to postmaster@gtlaw.com.



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TracFone - Comments to NTIA and RUS sent 11-30-09.pdf 811.48 KB
NTIA_RUS Comments.DOC 59 KB

Thomas Kamber <tkamber@oats.org>

(Late Submission)
Hello,

Please accept the attached RFI response on behalf of Older Adults Technology Services.

Thanks you,

Thomas Kamber, PhD
Executive Director
Older Adults Technology Services (OATS)

1713 Eighth Avenue, #8
Brooklyn, NY 11215
tkamber@oats.org
www.oats.org
cell: 917 363 4081




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rfi response round two.pdf 376.49 KB

Doug Power <dpower@niu.edu>

(Late Submission)
Please find our comment on the RFI, due today, November 30, 2009.

Thank you for this opportunity.

Doug Power and Alan Kraus

Doug Power
Senior Consultant and Research Associate
Broadband Development Group
Regional Development Institute
Northern Illinois University
1120 E. Diehl Road
Naperville, IL 60563
Office 815-753-8947
Cell 312-405-1021
dpower@niu.edu




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RFI RUS NTIA Nov 30 2009.doc 168 KB

Matt Johnson <mjohnson@hq.natoa.org>

(Late Submission)
To Whom It May Concern:

Please find attached to this email an erratum to the comments of NATOA, et al filed on November 30, 2009 in reference to Docket No. 090309298-9299-01. As the letter attached explains, this amended version corrects two minor errors in the executive summary. A full copy of the comments (as revised) is also attached. A copy of this revision will also be sent via USPS to NTIA and RUS. Please contact me at anytime if you have any questions.

Thanks,

Matt Johnson
NATOA Legal Fellow
mjohnson@natoa.org
703-519-8035


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Comments of NATOA et al. on BIP and BTOP Programs - Docket No. 090309298-9299-01 - Revised.pdf 1.31 MB

Mark.Hamilton <mark@ttmi.us>

(Late Submission)
On behalf of Telecom Transport Management, Inc., attached are comments for submission in NTIA/RUS Docket No. 0907141137-91375-05. Please contact me if you have any questions concerning this filing.

Very Truly Yours,

Mark Hamilton
Executive Chairman
Telecom Transport Management
206.545.4575 (o)
206.972.2123 (m)
mark@ttmi.us


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TTM 2nd RFI Comments (2).DOC 69.5 KB