Recovery Act: Round One Brings 'Nearly $28B' in Bids

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) revealed Thursday that it has received "nearly $28 billion" in bids for the first round of broadband stimulus funding tied to the Recovery Act.

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

jggveth 12/5/2012 | 3:57:47 PM
re: Recovery Act: Round One Brings 'Nearly $28B' in Bids Kudos again Dan. Unstrung and Lightreading really have this story covered well. This is interesting. Carriers do want the government hand out, they are just new really small carriers for the most part. Hopefully some will build real businesses and Americans will benefit from better broadband. Which vendors do you think this is good for? Maybe CommScope since they do a lot of Wireless connectivity. Maybe some of the WiMax vendors? Who else?
joset01 12/5/2012 | 3:57:46 PM
re: Recovery Act: Round One Brings 'Nearly $28B' in Bids

One thing to bear in mind, the $28B is an NTIA estimate not the final collated figure. You would imagine that it wouldn't shift much but I note this, just in case.

joset01 12/5/2012 | 3:57:46 PM
re: Recovery Act: Round One Brings 'Nearly $28B' in Bids Vendors: Harris, Alvarion, Commscope, quite possibly Motorola (public safety radios), there's more. I'll try and collate it more closely as details of the projects emerge.
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