Home > Broadband, FCC > Why I think that the Broadband stimulus is better than TARP?

Why I think that the Broadband stimulus is better than TARP?

I might be biased as somebody involved in the NTIA Broadband stimulus program, but then how many common folks like you and me have seen any of the TARP funds? I am not here to criticize the TARP program, as I think I have neither the expertise nor the reason to comment on its success. Maybe it avoided a complete crash of our economy or we just dodged the bullet temporarily, as Professor Roubini would like us to believe.  Broadband stimulus on the other hand will set people to work, digging trenches for running fiber as a result of middle mile projects or building networks as a result of last mile projects. It will benefit the rural America like never before, it will make access to broadband a fundamental right.

Are we closer to Finland yet ? Well Finland as we know has made become the first country in the world to make Internet access a fundamental right. As of this week, all ISPs in the country are required to ensure that each citizen has access to at least a 1Mbps speed connection.

The US dropped to 22nd place in broadband connection speed worldwide in a recent study by Akamai. The fastest broadband cities in the US are college towns, according to the same study. The top 10 US cities averaged four times faster than the average US broadband speed of 3.8Mbps. Meanwhile broadband penetration among active Internet users dropped to 95.17% in March 2010.

Top US Cities with highest Broadband Speeds:

Broadband Impact

According to analysis released by the National Economic Council last year, overall Recovery Act investments in broadband are expected to create tens of thousands of jobs in the near term and expand economic development and job opportunities in communities that would otherwise be left behind in the new knowledge-based economy.  Recovery Act broadband projects help bring down the cost of private investment, attract Internet service providers to new areas, improve digital literacy among students and workers, and help create new opportunities in employment, education, and entrepreneurship by wiring homes and businesses.

With new or increased broadband access, communities can compete on a level playing field to attract new businesses, schools can create distance learning opportunities, medical professionals can provide cost-efficient remote diagnoses and care, and business owners can expand the market for their products beyond their neighborhoods to better compete in the global economy.

There are two types of grants that were awarded:

Infrastructure – Middle mile awards build and improve middle mile connections to communities lacking sufficient broadband access and last mile awards connect end users like homes, hospitals and schools to their community’s broadband infrastructure (the middle mile).

Public Computing Centers – Expand computer center capacity for public use in libraries, community colleges and other public venues.

Beneficiaries of Allocated Grants:

A majority of the project are fiber based with 11 Fiber to the home projects, 13 fiber to the premises projects, there is no real difference between FTTH or FTTP. Generally FTTH is exclusively used for only residential properties whereas FTTP can be used for residences or small businesses.

Additionally, 9 fiber networks will be expanded and 1 ADSL2+ network will be implemented.

Among the new awards:

Hardy Telecommunications: $31.6 million in grants and loans will help build a fiber network in Hardy County, West Virginia, to serve more than 14,000 people, 200 business and more than 100 community institutions.

Wilkes Telephone & Electric: $48.1 million in grants and loans will help build a fiber network in Lincoln, Taliaferro, and Wilkes counties in Georgia. The project will bring broadband to more than 20,000 people.

Massachusetts Technology Park: This $45.4 million grant, with an additional $26.2 million from the applicant, will lay 1,300 miles of fiber in western Massachusetts. The project will bring broadband to more than 1 million people and 44,000 businesses.

Oregon projects won $16.1 million in federal broadband grants. The money will help bring fast Internet access to parts of the state, including parts of the Portland metro area, that aren’t well served.

The Farmers’ Telephone Company, Riceville, Iowa: This $18.7 million grant/loan award with an additional $4.7 million applicant-provided match will construct a FTTP network. The project will allow greater than 20Mbps broadband access to the exchange areas of: Little Cedar, New Haven, Plymouth, Riceville, Marble Rock, Greene, St.Ansgar and Stacyville, Iowa. The Farmer’s Telephone Company of Riceville, Iowa project stands to benefit approximately 8,500 people. Additionally, 148 businesses and 22 other community institutions stand to benefit from the project. Farmer’s Telephone estimates that the project will directly create approximately 250 jobs upfront and help drive economic development in the community that creates jobs for years to come.

Source: NTIA
Categories: Broadband, FCC
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