Community Networks Form in Hopes of Receiving Broadband Stimulus Money
Local, regional and state governments and groups are converging their efforts to win federal money for broadband expansion. In fact, varies entities, such as colleges, hospitals, libraries, counties and towns, have bonded together in an effort to win federal stimulus awards meant to improve and increase bandwidth. Driven by a need for greater connectivity, many are planning to build and share networks, often in cooperation with the private sector.
“Most states are looking at internal agencies, higher education, K-20 in some instances, public safety, 911 and police dispatch centers,” said Joel McCamley, senior vice president and division manager of telecommunications and technology services for L. Robert Kimball Associates, which is helping applicants secure stimulus funds. “We can converge a lot of things people are paying for individually today and stretch their dollar.”
Because the federal stimulus process favors large projects, many local- and county-level applicants have folded their efforts into state-level proposals. Missouri, for example, is partnering with various public and private entities (including Big River Telephone Company) to present its own proposal. States do play a unique role in the process: They help the feds map broadband coverage; they have the ability to essentially recommend proposals; and stimulus rules require a minimum of one award to be given to each state. In addition, the hurried pace of the stimulus process is pushing many applicants toward their state governments.
Service providers have an important role to play in helping build the last mile, their expertise is needed in tying together services such as telemedicine and public safety over shared networks in a secure, efficient manner. Get the right broadband provider through NEF. Contact us today to learn more.