NTIA awards four states grants for national broadband map

by Matthew Lasar, Ars Technica

Broadband stimulus money watchers and recovery plan tea leaf readers are cheering news of the first winners of the Department of Commerce's grants program for broadband mapping projects. They're pleased that the recipients are independent state agencies rather than groups affiliated with the telco/cable-backed non-profit Connected Nation. "We hope that trend continues," Connected's outspoken critic Art Brodsky at Public Knowledge told us. Other observers think that it will.

The biggest grant winner so far is the California Public Utilities Commission, which received two of the five grants: one for about $1.8 million and another $500,000 to map out broadband use across the state. Indiana's Office of Technology, North Carolina's Rural Economic Development Center, and Vermont's Center for Geographic Information received between $1.2 and $1.6 million in stimulus money.

These sums all go towards the final goal outlined in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act: the development of a broadband inventory map "accessible by the public on a World Wide Web site of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration in a form that is interactive and searchable." The NTIA is the spectrum and telecommunications grant management division of the Commerce Department. The agency predicts that it will distribute about $100 million in funds for this job.

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article originally published at Ars Technica.

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