First broadband stimulus winners announced

Vice President Joe Biden announced the recipients of the first $182 million in broadband stimulus grants today (just 9% of the first round of funding and 2% of the overall total) in Dawsonville, Ga.

The 18 projects included in the winners being announced today will benefit 17 states and have already been matched by more than $46 million in private funding, the White House said.

UPDATE: The full list of recipients announced today is available here.

Though the administrators of the program promised to announce the first round of winners this month, the White House said today those announcements — pertaining to $2 billion in awards — will be spread out over the next 75 days. Of the $182 million in funds being announced today, $129 million will come from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, and $54 million will come from the Rural Utilities Service.

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The awards announced today include:

- A $33.5 million grant to the North Georgia Network Cooperative — a group of utility electricity providers — for a fiberoptic ring serving the northern Georgia foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. The project will serve an eight-county area with a population of 334,000. It will be an “open” middle-mile network in which, according to the application, “Independent service providers will be encouraged, on a nondiscriminatory basis, to interconnect with the system in order to build out their own fiber services to end users.” NGNC and its partners pledged to match 20% of the project’s $41-million cost through “equity contributions.” The applicants expect the project to generate 837 jobs directly and almost 21,000 jobs indirectly.
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- A $39.7-million grant for a wholesale middle-mile network in upstate New York proposed by a public/private partnership between ION — Independent Optical Network, a coalition of 13 rural telephone companies — and the Development Authority for the North Country (DANC). That network is expected to immediately connect more than 100 community institutions — including libraries, colleges and health clinics — and enable last-mile connections to 250,000 households and 38,000 businesses in New York, Pennsylvania and Vermont.

- A $25.4-million grant to the Biddeford Internet Corp., a partnership between the University of Maine and service providers, to build three fiberoptic rings across rural Maine. The network will pass through more than 100 communities with 110,000 households and will connect 10 University of Maine campuses.

- A $25.3-million grant, with $6.4 million of leveraged funds, for a multi-mode 4G wireless network spanning 90,000 square miles in southwestern Alaska, to be built by Rivada Sea Lion, an Alaska Native Corporation. The network (whose details were heavily redacted) will be used to provide broadband to 30,000 residents in 53 unserved communities.

-A combined grant/loan of $2.4 million to the Consolidated Electric Cooperative in north central Ohio to build a 166-mile fiber network that will connect 16 electrical substations to support a smart grid project and be sold to last-mile service providers.

- A $985,000 grant for a fiber-to-the-home project from New Hampshire’s Bretton Woods Telephone Company that will pass 386 households, 19 businesses and six community institutions.

- A $1.3-million grant, with $320,000 in matching funds, to provide computer centers for 84 libraries in Arizona.

- A $2.9-million grant, with $741,000 in matching funds, to “enhance broadband awareness and use” in four federally-designated poverty zones in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minn.

UPDATE: The full list of recipients announced today is available here.

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