WASHINGTON – The Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and the USDA's Rural Utilities Service (RUS) today announced the launch of BroadbandMatch, a new online tool to facilitate partnerships among prospective applicants to the agencies' broadband grant and loan programs. The programs, funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, are intended to expand broadband access and adoption in America, helping to bridge the digital divide, create jobs, and stimulate long-term economic growth.
BroadbandMatch – at http://match.broadbandusa.gov  – allows potential applicants to find partners for broadband projects, helping them to combine expertise and create stronger proposals. For example, a broadband infrastructure provider might partner with community institutions, like universities, hospitals, or libraries, on a proposal to bring high-speed Internet service to their facilities. Any company, nonprofit, state or local government or expert individual interested in applying for funding under NTIA's Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) or RUS's Broadband Initiatives Program (BIP) can post a profile, including key information about the contribution they can make to a broadband project, as well as search for other stakeholders whose skills and resources match their needs.
"In the first funding round, many applicants wanted to form partnerships but didn't know how best to locate other organizations with similar aims and complementary resources," said NTIA Administrator Lawrence E. Strickling. "BroadbandMatch is a tool to help stakeholders collaborate, which can spur the highest caliber, most effective proposals for this crucial Recovery Act funding."
"It's like a matchmaking service where interested parties can discover each other to pursue their mutual interests," said RUS Administrator Jonathan S. Adelstein. "It will help in locating community partners and establishing new relationships that will foster better broadband service in areas of the country that really need it."
RUS and NTIA plan to announce the rules for the final funding round of the BTOP and BIP programs in the coming weeks.
BroadbandMatch is a component project in support of the Obama Administration's Open Government Initiative, undertaking to bring an innovative, open approach to the way the government operates. In launching BroadbandMatch, NTIA and RUS are joining agencies across the government in retooling their approach to conducting business, to increase transparency, public participation, and collaboration.
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