Recovery Act: Round One Brings 'Nearly $28B' in Bids
The NTIA -- in conjunction with the the Department of Agriculture's Rural Utilities Service (RUS) -- is awarding $4 billion in funds in the first broadband round. A total of $7.2 billion, to be awarded over three separate rounds, has been appropriated.
The departments said today that they received almost 2,200 applications requesting nearly $28 billion in funding for proposed projects reaching all 50 U.S. states and territories and the District of Columbia.
Applications came in from state, local, and tribal governments; nonprofits; operators; libraries; universities; community colleges; hospitals; public safety organizations and "other entities in rural, suburban and urban areas," the NTIA says in a statement.
Unstrung has charted the tip of the applications iceberg, listing 16 companies and groups that have applied for funding. There are clearly many more applicants yet to show their hand.
In the coming weeks, the NTIA and RUS expect to post a Web-based, searchable database containing summaries of all applications received. Bid winners are expected be announced sometime in September at the earliest.
Therefore, we don't know yet how many from this diverse mix of bidders are traditional service providers as opposed to municipalities or campuses trying to improve wireless coverage.
The early indications from Light Reading and Unstrung's reporting is that larger Tier 1 and Tier 2 operators aren't too keen on getting involved. There are a number of smaller players deeply involved, however. (See Recovery Act: Everyone Wants to Rural the World, Recovery Act: Tier 2 Says 'No Thanks', and Recovery Act: The Undecided Remain.)
Broadband author and blogger, Craig Settles, meanwhile, claims that the number of bids debunks the idea that the broadband stimulus program is a failure because the incumbents aren't involved.
— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung