The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced in a press release last month that it will accept supplemental grant applications from state governments and other existing awardees in its State Broadband Data and Development Grant Program for additional broadband improvement and mapping activities. Act quickly: the deadline is July 1.
The NTIA noted that one of the primary purposes of the grant program is to “assist states in gathering data on the availability, speed, and location of broadband services” in furtherance of the purposes of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and the Broadband Data Improvement Act of 2008 (BDIA). The broadband data states compile will be used to help create the National Broadband Map that the Recovery Act requires NTIA to make publicly available by February 17, 2011. This map, which NTIA plans to update every six months, should provide consumers more precise information on available broadband services and facilitate government efforts to increase broadband availability nationwide.
In addition to mapping, this NTIA grant action can be used for other purposes, including implementation of Recommendation 9.11 in the National Broadband Plan that “federal support should be expanded for regional capacity-building efforts aimed at improving broadband deployment and adoption.” Eligible initiatives cited by the NTIA include state broadband task forces or advisory boards, technical assistance programs, local or regional technology planning efforts, and programs to promote increased computer ownership and Internet usage.
This announced use of Recovery Act funds by NTIA to help launch and expand broadband planning functions in the states and territories is part of the $350 million Congress appropriated under the Recovery Act to implement the BDIA and develop and maintain a broadband inventory map. To date, NTIA has awarded more than $100 million in grants to 54 eligible entities to carry out initial broadband data collection, mapping and planning activities.
Cross-posted to The Official FCC Blog.