While our Broadband Stimulus 101 series has focused mainly on the BIP and BTOP, the Recovery Act also funded another, more esoteric program: the State Broadband Data and Development Grant Program (Broadband Mapping Program). The goal of that program is to develop a reliable database reflecting the actual deployment and adoption of broadband services nation-wide. Basically, the government wants a clear picture of what kind of broadband service is available where, and who’s using it. Each state is responsible for coming up with a data gathering and mapping plan the results of which will be fed into a national “broadband map” which Congress has directed NTIA to prepare by February, 2011.
Funds from the Broadband Mapping Program are intended for states or their designees – which means that, if you’re a private individual, company or organization and you have your eye on any of this cash, you should start getting close with the relevant folks in your state government ASAP. Compared with the billions of bucks flooding the BIP and BTOP, the $240 million available for the Broadband Mapping Program may look like a paltry drop in the bucket, but $240 million is, well, $240 million.
If you have any interest in the Broadband Mapping Program, NTIA is presenting an “on-line workshop” on the program tomorrow, July 24, from 1:00-3:00 p.m. (EDT). You have to sign up at least two hours before start time. You can do so (at no cost!) at https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/538335482 or just click on this link and complete the registration form. Don’t worry if you miss the live version, though – NTIA will be recording the festivities, which will be available at www.broadbandusa.gov. (And if you’re really into the program, you can even email questions in to NTIA at firstname.lastname@example.org before the workshop.)