Surplus of applicants for federal broadband stimulus money triggers a delay

Everybody is scrambling for his or her broadband stimulus money.

5:00 p.m. EDT today was scheduled to be the deadline for funding applications under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, but because of overwhelming traffic on the government's servers, the deadline has been extended to next Thursday, August 20.

"Over the last several days, the online application system (Easygrants System) has experienced service delays due to the volume of activity from potential applicants," a joint statement from the Department of Agriculture and Department of Commerce today said. "The agencies have added additional servers to address these capacity issues. Nevertheless, in an effort to give applicants that have already started the electronic application submission process prior to the application closing deadline an opportunity to complete the submission of those applications, RUS and NTIA announce that an applicant with an application pending in the Easygrants System as of 5 p.m. ET on August 14, 2009, will be given until 5 p.m. ET on August 20, 2009, to complete the electronic submission of its application."

Of the $7.2 billion in Recovery Act funding, approximately $2.5 billion will go to the Rural Utilities Service Broadband Initiatives Program (BIP), to improve broadband infrastructure in rural areas of the US. The remaining $4.7 billion will go to the National Telecommunications Information Administration's Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) which will fund broadband improvement in "underserved" areas -- that is, areas that aren't necessarily rural but are definitely underconnected, such as lower income urban areas.

Companies, organizations, and local governments with all sorts of proposed solutions are applying for funding.

The Recovery Act also directed the FCC to submit a National Broadband Plan to Congress by February 17, 2010. The plan will outline the benefits of improved broadband infrastructure for such things as education, employment, and heath care, as well as the issues related to deployment, adoption and affordability.

Last week, the Commission began its series of workshops to discuss and debate ideas in the drafting of the National Broadband Plan. Today, the FCC named the seven senior technologists who will lead in the creation of the Plan.

Stagg Newman, Chief Technologist

Byron J. Neal, Chief Engineer

Julius Knapp, Chief, Office of Engineering and Technology, FCC

Ronald T. Repasi, Deputy Chief of the Office of Engineering and Technology, FCC

Rashmi Doshi, Chief, Laboratory Division, Office of Engineering and Technology, FCC

Walter Johnston, Chief, Electromagnetic Compatibility Division, Office of Engineering and Technology, FCC

Jeff Goldthorp, Chief, Communications Systems Analysis Division, Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau, FCC

The Commission has also named Dr. Carlos Kirjner as Senior Advisor on Broadband to Chairman Genachowski. Kirjner was Vice President of Business Development for Telegent Systems, Inc., a fabless semiconductor manufacturer, and Director for New Business Development at Vodafone.

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