On February 17, 2009, President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), which contains approximately $7 billion in funding for broadband initiatives. On July 1, 2009, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and the Department of Agriculture's Rural Utilities Service (RUS) released the first of three Notices of Funds Availability (NOFA) implementing the broadband stimulus programs. The NOFA establishes two complementary programs to distribute the broadband stimulus funding under the ARRA-the Broadband Initiatives Program (BIP), administered by RUS, and the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP), administered by NTIA. The NOFA specifies that applications for the first round of funding are due by August 14, 2009.
BIP will award grants, loans and grant/loan combinations for broadband infrastructure, including both Last Mile and Middle Mile projects. Grants under BIP may be used only to provide broadband infrastructure in remote, unserved, rural areas. Loans and loan/grant combinations may be used to provide broadband infrastructure in non-remote and underserved rural areas.
BTOP will award grants under three different programs-Broadband Infrastructure, Public Computer Center and Sustainable Broadband Adoption. The Broadband Infrastructure program will fund both Last Mile and Middle Mile broadband projects that serve both unserved and underserved areas. The Public Computer Center program will fund projects that expand public access to broadband and enhance broadband access at entities that permit the public to use computing centers. The Sustainable Broadband Adoption program will fund innovative projects that promote broadband demand and adoption.
A copy of the NOFA is available here.