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4G/3G/WiFi

Recovery Act: Deadline Extended

The deadline for applying for the first round of broadband stimulus money under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) has just been extended to Aug. 20, as long as interested parties start their electronic application by 5:00 p.m. tomorrow.

Word of the extension was posted on the Broadband USA Website Thursday afternoon.

The original Notice of Funds Availability (NOFA) said the application period for the Broadband Initiatives Program (BIP) and Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) would run from July 14 to the end of the business day tomorrow. Many operators, vendors, and local government bodies had said it would be hard to hit such a tight deadline. (See Small Wireless Firms Get Set for Recovery Funds.)

In this first round of funding, there is around $2.4 billion available under the rural Broadband Initiatives Program (BIP) for deploying broadband in the boondocks. Meanwhile, up to $1.6 billion is available in the Broadband Technologies Initiative Program (BTOP), which is intended to promote new broadband technology in unserved and underserved communities.

All told, $7.6 billion will be paid out under the broadband element of Recovery Act. Of this, up to $4.7 billion is due to be paid out under BTOP funding by the end of September 2010.

Much of the first tranche of money will go to rural projects, such as those pursued by small WiMax service providers. Larger operators have tended to stay away, in part because accepting the money invites scrutiny of their interconnection, nondiscrimination, and network management practices. (See Recovery Act: The Undecided Remain and Recovery Act: A WiMax Windfall.)

Big cities aren't expecting much from this first round of money, but New York City expects to apply anyway. Broadband blogger and author Craig Settles also draws Unstrung's attention to the fact that Philadelphia is putting in a bid.

– Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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