BTOP Quarterly Report 1 Issued 05-18-2009

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Quarterly Report to Congress released by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), and reporting on quarterly program actions within the agency's Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP). NTIA is the agency with the Department of Commerce that manages Commerce's component of the $7.2 billion broadband stimulus program within the Recovery Act, officially called the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). Release date: 05-18-2009.
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  Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP)Quarterly Program Status ReportSubmitted to theCommittee on AppropriationsUnited States SenatetheCommittee on AppropriationsUnited States House of RepresentativestheCommittee on Commerce, Science and TransportationUnited States Senateand theCommittee on Energy and CommerceUnited States House of RepresentativesMay 18, 2009National Telecommunications and Information AdministrationU.S. Department of Commerce  1 INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) provides thisquarterly report on the status of the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP)established under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act or Act), (PublicLaw No. 111-5).The Act directs the Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information (AssistantSecretary), in consultation with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), to establish agrant program designed to increase broadband penetration and adoption in unserved andunderserved areas of the United States; provide broadband training and support to schools,libraries, healthcare providers and other organizations; improve broadband access to publicsafety agencies; and stimulate demand for broadband and economic growth. In addition tofostering greater availability and use of broadband technology, the $4.7 billion in fundingprovided under the Act is also intended to create jobs and stimulate economic growth.The Act establishes eligibility requirements for grantees and grant projects; allocatescertain amounts of funding for specifically-identified broadband initiatives; imposes substantiveand procedural requirements on the Assistant Secretary in the administration of the program aswell as on grantees in their use of BTOP funding; and requires that all awards be made before theend of fiscal year 2010. The Act further requires NTIA to develop and maintain acomprehensive nationwide inventory map of broadband service capability and availability and tomake the map publicly available via the Internet. NTIA anticipates the use of grants to entitiescapable of providing data and other support in the development of the broadband map.Among other things, the Assistant Secretary is required to provide status reports every90 days. Informal briefings of Congress, as well as appearances at Congressional hearings, willcomplement these reports. This initial status report reviews developments since PresidentObama signed the Act into law on February 17, 2009. SUMMARY In light of the BTOP’s nascence, this report focuses on initial procedural andadministrative steps taken by NTIA to launch BTOP in accordance with the Act’s requirements. In addition to a tentative timeli ne, this report sets forth NTIA’s key activities over the past 90days aimed at ensuring a prompt and effective implementation of the grant program: (i) programkickoff in cooperation with other Federal agencies and the States; (ii) public outreach andparticipation; and (iii) enhancing transparency and accountability. The content and format of subsequent reports may differ to reflect new developments and phases in the program,particularly once NTIA begins to receive and act on grant applications.NTIA currently intends to conduct three rounds of grants. NTIA ’s goal is to open thefirst grant application window in the summer of 2009, following publication of a Notice of FundsAvailability (NOFA) that will establish more specific eligibility criteria and funding conditions in accordance with the Act’s requirements . After its review of the initial grant applications,NTIA anticipates making grant awards beginning in the final quarter of calendar year 2009. Two  2more rounds of grants will follow, each commencing with its own NOFA that will allow NTIAto make any appropriate changes to the program based on its previous experience. In addition,NTIA intends to release a separate NOFA with respect to the broadband map.  3 GRANT PROGRAM PHASES AND ANTICIPATED MILESTONES  Statutory deadlines are in italics Phase 1: Program Design February  –  June 2009 Initial consultation with Federal agencies, States, February  –  June 2009and other governmental entitiesPublication of Request for Information March 12, 2009Public Comment Period March 12  –  April 13, 2009Public Meetings and Field HearingsKickoff meeting/Washington, DC March 10, 2009Washington, DC March 16, 2009Las Vegas, NV March 17, 2009Flagstaff, AZ March 18, 2009Washington, DC March 19, 2009Washington, DC March 23, 2009Washington, DC March 24, 2009Execution of Interagency Agreements forAdministrative Support March  –  June 2009 Phase 2: Program Implementation June 2009  –   September 2012 Issuance of Notice of Funds Availability Early Summer 2009--MappingIssuance of Notice of Funds Availability Early Summer 2009--GeneralOutreach and Grant Guidance Workshops Summer 2009Submission of Grant Applications July 2009  –  September 2009Initial Grant Awards Fourth Quarter 2009Second and Third Notices of Funds Availability 2010--GeneralCompletion of Grant Awards September 30, 2010  Broadband Map Posted to Website February 17, 2011 Substantial Completion of all Grant Projects September 30, 2012 Phase 3: Final Program Audits and Shut-down September 30, 2014
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