The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 appropriated $4.7 billion for the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to establish the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP). As required by the Act, NTIA designed this grant program to increase broadband access and adoption; provide broadband training and support to schools, libraries, healthcare providers, and other organizations; improve broadband access to public safety agencies; and stimulate demand for broadband.
In 2009 and 2010, NTIA invested approximately $4 billion in 233 BTOP projects benefitting every state, as well as five territories and the District of Columbia. The portfolio of projects includes:
- 123 Broadband Infrastructure projects totaling $3.5 billion in grant funds to construct broadband networks in underserved areas, supplying critical high-capacity connections to schools, libraries, hospitals and other vital anchor institutions that need more bandwidth;
- 66 Public Computer Center (PCC) projects totaling $201 million in grant funds to provide access to broadband, computer equipment, computer training, job training, and educational resources to the public and vulnerable populations, such as low-income individuals, the unemployed, seniors, children, minorities, and people with disabilities; and,
- 44 Sustainable Broadband Adoption (SBA) projects totaling nearly $251 million in grant funds to support innovative projects that promote broadband adoption, especially among vulnerable population groups where broadband technology traditionally has been underutilized.
Altogether, more than 7,200 communities in all 56 states and territories will benefit from the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program. Through September 30, 2012, these projects cumulatively have:
- deployed or upgraded 78,000 miles of infrastructure;
- connected more than 11,200 community anchor institutions;
- installed more than 38,600 computer workstations in 2,600 public computer centers in 1,500 communities;
- generated more than 510,000 new broadband subscribers; and
- funded digital literacy training and other broadband adoption programs, with 2.8 million participants receiving 9.9 million training hours.
BTOP and Healthcare:
BTOP funding is connecting more than 3,000 healthcare facilities across the country. More than 2,700 are getting at least 10 megabits of bandwidth, which enables high-definition video consultation and real-time image transfers. More than 1,300 will get more than 100 megabits of bandwidth, which can support continuous remote monitoring of patients.
BTOP and Education:
Faster broadband speeds enable educational institutions to support distance learning. BTOP recipients are deploying broadband infrastructure that connects educational institutions to higher speed networks.
- BTOP recipients have connected nearly 10,500 educational institutions. Approximately 85 percent of those schools have access to speeds of 10 megabits per second or greater.
- Nearly 40 BTOP projects focus on distance learning, online education, elearning, or making online learning more accessible.
Workforce Development/Job Training:
The BTOP infrastructure projects have directly created thousands of jobs in areas such as construction, fiber splicing and network engineering. They are also helping people get jobs who may never before have turned on a computer – a group that includes a disproportionate number of low-income Americans, senior citizens and members of minority groups – and teaching them how to use a mouse, navigate the Internet and set up an email account. These programs are also showing people how to write resumes, find Internet job postings and even apply for jobs over the Web.