Biden announces first broadband stimulus grants today

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Eighteen broadband stimulus projects in 17 states worth $182 million will be announced today by Vice President Joseph Biden in Dawsonville, Ga. Public broadcasters are among the many nonprofit and commercial entities vying for the funds (Current, Sept. 21) in four categories: middle mile, to build or improve high-speed connections to communities; last mile, connecting users to their community’s broadband infrastructure; public computing, to expand computer centers; and sustainable broadband, for projects that promote broadband demand. UPDATE: No public broadcasting projects announced in this round. Biggest single grant this time is $39.7 million with $9.9 million in matching funds, to Albany, N.Y.-based ION Hold Co., for 10 middle-mile fiber optic segments in 70 rural communities in New York, Pennsylvania and Vermont. Smallest: A $106,503 loan with $87,405 in matching funds for Big Island Broadband/Aloha Broadband Inc., to provide high-speed service to an unserved area of some 600 residents and businesses in the northern part of the island. More announcements are coming periodically through February 2010 for this first round of grants. Rules for the final round should be announced in January, with all funding awarded by September 2010.

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