- Broadband Stimulus Update: Protests, Awards and Round 2 Begins
- December 2, 2009 | Authors: Jennifer A. Cetta; Carly T. Didden; Jennifer L. Richter
- Law Firm: Patton Boggs LLP - Washington Office
Protests filed against proposed funded service areas identified in broadband stimulus applications are now available in the BroadbandUSA application database. We are still waiting for NTIA and RUS to announce the Round 1 applications that will proceed to Phase II due diligence, although we understand this will occur on a “rolling basis.” The Agencies are facing increasing pressure from Congress and the Obama Administration to quickly begin awarding funds while still complying with the terms of the Notice of Funds Availability (NOFA), and are now faced with beginning Round 2 before the awards for Round 1 are announced. Round 1 broadband stimulus announcements are expected to be made starting in December, with additional awards announced on a rolling basis through February.
The remaining broadband stimulus funding will be awarded during a single, final round. In anticipation of releasing the NoFA for Round 2 of broadband stimulus funding early next year, the Agencies released a joint Request for Information (RFI) seeking comments on how the application and process can be improved. We expect the RFI to be published in the Federal Register on November 16 and comments will be due by November 30.
In the RFI, the agencies seek comment on how to streamline the application process; if funding priorities should be changed; if the definitions for unserved, underserved, broadband and remote area need to be revised; if the public notice process related to proposed funded service areas needs to be changed; and if adjustments are needed to the interconnection and nondiscrimination requirements, or the procedures related to sale of project assets.