The Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) and the Broadband Initiative Program (BIP), administered respectively by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and the Rural Utilities Service (RUS), drew a tidal wave of applications last week from nearly 2,200 grant seekers that have asked for more than $28 billion in first-round funding. Total funding sought for the first-round applications is nearly four times the $7.2 billion in combined BTOP and BIP monies allocated by Congress under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The applications cover proposed broadband projects in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. Although specific filers were not disclosed, sources at both agencies confirmed that the applicants included state, local and tribal governments, non-profit organizations, private-sector entities, libraries, universities, hospitals, and public safety organizations. (Last month, AT&T, Verizon Communications, Sprint Nextel and other major carriers indicated that they would not apply for first-round BTOP/BIP funds.) Out of the 2,200 applications filed, about 1,490 request grants for broadband infrastructure projects that total $23.2 billion. An additional 680 applicants have filed proposals, totaling $4.4 billion, for deployment or support of public computer centers and for projects intended to stimulate broadband demand. NTIA and RUS officials also indicated that, when factoring in $10.5 billion in matching funds committed by the applicants, the adjusted dollar amount of all proposed projects exceeds $38 billion. Both agencies are expected to post summaries of the applications in a searchable online database within the next few weeks, with final decisions on first-round grants to be issued in November. As NTIA Administrator Larry Strickling promised to “move quickly but carefully to fund the best projects to bring broadband and jobs to more Americans,” RUS Director Jonathan Adelstein proclaimed: “the overwhelming response we received underscores the extensive interest in expanding broadband across the country.”