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President Obama will announce the awarding of 66 broadband grants today (pdf). The grants will total over $795 million with the award winners providing $200 million in outside investment. The awardees span 36 states and the District of Columbia. So far, the administration has doled out $2.7 billion in grants, which is less than half of the $7.2 billion set aside in the stimulus plan for broadband Internet projects.

A majority of the project are fiber based. The grants focus on middle-mile awards, supporting networks that lead into communities.

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 Iowa Health System received a $17.7 million grant to expand the system’s fiber network to connect 200 healthcare facilities. Iowa Health System estimates that the project will directly create approximately 100 jobs upfront and help drive economic development in the community that creates jobs for years to come.”

One of the most innovative projects is the United States Unified Community Anchor Network (pdf) which plans to create a “nation-wide high-capacity network that will enable advanced networking features for more than 100,000 essential community anchor institutions”.

U.S. UCAN will interconnect more than 30 existing research and education networks, creating a dedicated 100-200 Gbps nationwide fiber backbone with 3.2 terabits per second (TBps) total capacity (pdf). The University Corporation for Advanced Internet Development received a $62.5 million grant and matched it with $34.3 million of their own funding.

The National Lambda Rail is the national fiber model. That network uses dense wavelength-division multiplexing (DWDM), which allows up to 64 individual optical wavelengths to be used on each fiber strand, with each “color” delivering up to 10 GigE.

Larry Smarr’s recent presentations (Calit2 YouTube videos), such as this one (above) from Los Alamos, explain how Calit2 and Scripp’s Center for Earth Observations and Applications, can use OptIPuter switched fiber connections for applications in geoscience and bioscience.

The Recovery Act appropriated $7.2 billion for expanding broadband access nationwide – $4.7 billion through the Commerce Department and $2.5 billion funded through the Department of Agriculture. In December, the Government announced the first round, with $2 billion in Broadband Grants.

With the awards being announced today, more than $2.7 billion of the $7.2 billion set aside in Recovery Act broadband grants and loans will have been awarded. More than 260 projects across the country have been awarded grants since December 2009. Overall, the Recovery Act is making a $100 billion investment in science, innovation and technology.

The Recovery Act appropriated $2.5 billion for the USDA’s Rural Utilities Service to bring broadband service to rural areas. RUS awarded $1.068 billion to 68 recipients in 31 States and 1 U.S. Territory in Round One. Here’s their pdf report. The Commerce Department’s NTIA, with $4.7B, is focused more on non-rural broadband with many state and governmental bodies participating in proposals for Broadband Infrastructure Projects.

The South Korean government invested in WiBro has a means to stimulate new communications technologies and growth engines. Brazil, the world’s eighth largest economy, launched e-Brazil, to accelerate socioeconomic development and improve Brazil’s competitiveness.

In the United States, communications technologies have traditionally been left to private enterprise and industry bodies, although ARPA invests in cutting edge infrastructure to stimulate private industry.

U.S. UCAN will reach over 50 million Americans through community nodes with next generation Internet applications in telemedicine and distance education expected as a result. Imagine a streaming hyperspectal scanner that converts a mobile into a Tri-corder. The magic’s in the backend. Supercomputer App stores may be next.

Stupid little boys want to join Al Qaeda. Real men want to knock off General Electric.

StimulatingBroadband.com has detailed reporting of the federal broadband stimulus program. Their Google Map shows locations of each grant or loan awarded to date.

Related Dailywireless articles include; Round Two Stimulus: $4.8 Billion for Broadband, NTIA: Another $63M in Grants, Government Announces Broadband Grants, FCC Okays Terrestrial LTE for SkyTerra, Cisco’s Connected Communities Initiative, The 700MHz Network: Who Pays?, The National Broadband Plan, National Broadband Plan Previewed, D-Block: It’s Done; Congress Pays

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