Charlotte & Mecklenburg County seek stimulus money for high-speed broadband | CLT Blog

Charlotte & Mecklenburg County seek stimulus money for high-speed broadband

Posted on 25 May 2010 by Justin Ruckman

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It appears this is for internal government use; read: not for home. Still cool to see traction made though. Via @minifail.

The grants and awards available in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act are attractive, but competition is fierce.

In late January 2010, 1,400 stimulus grant applicants received rejection letters after they applied for funds during the first window for broadband financing. They got the bad news from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), an agency is awarding some of the $7.2 billion in stimulus funds reserved for broadband projects.

North Carolina applicants hope they’ll be lucky in subsequent chances. The city of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County have united to create a comprehensive broadband network for their governments, and officials think stimulus money is an ideal way to help pay for it.

They’ve acted quickly. The jurisdictions sent their grant application during the second application window, from Feb. 16 to March 15. Those awards won’t be given until sometime between June and September.

We think we have a great story for our application, but I realize we’ll be competing against a lot of other applications. So this is not a foregone conclusion that our idea is the best,” said Dennis Baucom, director of Charlotte’s Network Technology Services (NTS) Division. (…)

In the modern era, there’s obviously a need for higher-bandwidth transactions, and we think a wireless data network will provide that,” Pinkard said. “It’s evolving toward a broadband network.”

Pinkard, Baucom and their colleagues plan to get done no matter what, but they say stimulus dollars will help them accomplish their goals.

We’re applying for stimulus funding because it will speed up the process,” Baucom said. “If we don’t get stimulus money, then we fully expect to discuss funding it ourselves. It just means probably an additional two or three years before we could put the network in place.“

Read more by Hilton Collins at Government Technology.

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