• On April 4, 2011, Rep. Charles Bass, R-NH, introduced HR 1343, a bill “To return unused or reclaimed funds made available for Broadband Awards in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to the Treasury of the United States.” This bill was the subject of a House Communications Subcommittee meeting on April 1 and was then referred to the full Commerce Committee and the House Agriculture Committee for consideration. A copy of the bill can be found here.
  • On April 20-21, 2011, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) will hold a workshop for those who want to apply for USDA’s Rural Development broadband loan programs. The workshop will take place at the Sheraton Downtown Denver Hotel in Colorado. The registration packet can be found here.
  • The Rural Utilities Service (RUS) is accepting applications for broadband access loans. These loans will be funded by the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, commonly known as the 2008 Farm Bill. RUS currently estimates that $700 million may be available from prior appropriations, but this figure may change based upon ultimate resolution of the federal budget. RUS plans to publish a subsequent notice that will identify the amount of funding available upon the enactment of the 2011 Appropriations Act. It has stated that “expenses incurred in developing the application will be at the applicant’s own risk.” The minimum loan amount is $100,000 and the maximum is $100 million. A copy of the Federal Register notice regarding the loans, published on March 14, 2011, can be found here.
  • Also on March 10, RUS announced interim rules that reflect changes in its broadband loan programs as a result of the 2008 Farm Bill. They became effective March 13, 2011. RUS is seeking comment on these interim rules on issues relating to priority of applications, application requirements, notice requirements, methods of determining which applicants should be eligible for a 4% interest rate, and application processing. Comments are due May 13, 2011. A copy of the Federal Register notice, published on March 14, 2011, can be found here.
  • Quarterly financial reports and Performance Progress Reports (PPR) for Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) grant recipients are due April 30, 2011 for the first quarter of 2011.

The instructions for filing the financial reports can be found here.

The form for the financial reports can be found here.

The quarterly Performance Progress Reports for Broadband Sustainability Projects can be found here.

The quarterly Performance Progress Reports for projects involving Public Computer Centers can be found here.

The quarterly Performance Progress Reports for Broadband Infrastructure Projects can be found here.

  • The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), which provided the funding to NTIA, requires BTOP recipients to file quarterly status and compensation reports no later than 10 days after the close of a quarter. These reports must be filed at www.federalreporting.gov.