WASHINGTON – The Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) today announced an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act investment to help bridge the technological divide, boost economic growth, create jobs, and improve education and public safety in portions of Arkansas, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. The $28.6 million grant will increase broadband access and adoption by funding the build-out and deployment of more than 680 miles of a new fiber-optic network in 35 communities. The project intends to directly connect more than 70 community anchor institutions to the broadband network, including city halls, police stations, fire stations, libraries, schools, and a hospital.
With this grant, Allegiance Communications plans to deploy broadband technology to an estimated 12,700 households and 230 businesses in the four-state region. It will be the first time wireline broadband service faster than dial-up is offered in most of the affected communities. Allegiance also plans to upgrade communications for public safety organizations to improve storm warning systems and first responder efforts.
NTIA's Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP), funded by the Recovery Act, provides grants to support the deployment of broadband infrastructure, enhance and expand public computer centers, and encourage sustainable adoption of broadband service.
"Broadband plays a critical role in helping communities achieve durable, sustainable economic growth," Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information and NTIA Administrator Lawrence E. Strickling said. "Like the grant announced today, the strongest proposals we have received are the ones that have taken a truly comprehensive view of the communities to be served and have engaged as many key members of the communities as possible in developing the projects."
NTIA received more than 1,800 applications proposing projects totaling nearly $19 billion during the first BTOP funding round and has just received a second round of BTOP applications requesting $11 billion in funding.
The Recovery Act provided a total of $7.2 billion to NTIA and the Department of Agriculture's Rural Utilities Service (RUS) to fund projects that will expand access to and adoption of broadband services. Of that funding, NTIA will utilize $4.7 billion for grants to deploy broadband infrastructure in the United States, expand public computer center capacity, and encourage sustainable adoption of broadband service. NTIA will announce all grant awards by September 30, 2010.