Several states announced tens of millions in grant awards today, as the federal government released the next boost of stimulus money to support broadband efforts nationwide. The federal government plans to invest $7.2 billion in broadband through several rounds of funding. North Carolina, Ohio, Missouri and Mississippi all announced awards and new initiatives that will build out networks for emergency management and public access.
North Carolina received $115 million to expand public broadband access throughout the state. In the last two funding rounds North Carolina netted $255 in federal broadband dollars. Some of the bigger ticket projects include:
- MCNC – $75,757,289
- Yadkin Valley Telephone Membership Corporation – $21,668,232
- City of Charlotte – $16,702,490
Ohio received $118 million to increase public access networks and expects to create nearly 430 jobs as part of their broadband expansion plan. The award was split between three projects (some with matching funds from local entities):
- Horizon Telecom, $66.5 million
- OneCommunity, $44.8 million
- Connected Nation, Inc. $6.9 million
Missouri received $66.3 million plus an additional local matching amount, bringing the total to $85 million to connect 660,000 homes and businesses across northern Missouri. Under the plan, BlueBird Media will use its grant of $45,145,250 to build out an ultra-high capacity middle mile network in concert with United Electric Cooperative which received $21,213,106 in loans and grants to build a last mile network that will extend broadband access more deeply into rural Missouri.
Mississippi received $70 million to improve emergency communications capabilities among the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, law enforcement and other first responders. The funds will upgrade the Mississippi Wireless Information Network, which allows public safety agencies statewide to contact each other through radio systems quickly. The upgrade will allow the network to span the entire state.