WASHINGTON — The Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and the Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS) announced that they received almost 2,200 applications requesting nearly $28 billion in funding for proposed broadband projects reaching all 50 U.S. states and territories and the District of Columbia.
This is the first round of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding aimed at expanding broadband access and adoption to help bridge the technological divide and create jobs building Internet infrastructure, with $4 billion available through loans, grants, and loan/grant combinations.
The Recovery Act provided a total of $7.2 billion to NTIA and RUS to expand access to and adoption of broadband services. Of that funding, NTIA will utilize $4.7 billion to deploy broadband infrastructure in unserved and underserved areas in the United States, expand public computer center capacity, and encourage sustainable adoption of broadband service. RUS will invest $2.5 billion to facilitate broadband deployment primarily in rural communities. Approximately $2.4 billion from RUS and up to $1.6 billion from NTIA is available in this first grant round.
In the coming weeks, NTIA and RUS will post online a searchable database containing summaries of all applications received. The dollar figures cited here represent applicants’ self-reported totals from proposals submitted before the Aug. 20. These results are preliminary estimates, however, and may change as the applications are reviewed for errors, omissions and duplications.