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Connected Nation Applauds Diligence of NTIA’s Broadband Stimulus Review Process

Washington, DC – Today, Connected Nation participated in a call with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to discuss Connected Nation’s broadband mapping applications for the State Broadband Data and Development (SBDD) Grant Program. Connected Nation is proud to be working with 13 states and territories in the national broadband mapping effort, which represents approximately 40 percent of the country’s landmass and encompasses approximately 39.5 million total households.

As the organization that produced the nation’s first accurate statewide broadband availability map in 2005, Connected Nation is a prominent voice for the nation’s need for better broadband data. Connected Nation has worked closely with national leaders and provided numerous
filings in support of a process for broadband data collection at the national level.

“We applaud the NTIA for working diligently and deliberately to ensure the nation’s broadband mapping program is held to the highest standard. We have taken this approach in our previous state projects and we intend to continue in our new programs,” said Brian R. Mefford, Connected Nation’s chief executive officer. “In the spirit of openness and collaboration, we welcome any opportunity to share the lessons we have learned and the improvements we have made.”

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has also weighed in on the need for improved broadband mapping measures. On October 9, 2009, GAO issued a
report, “Telecommunications: Current Broadband Measures Have Limitations and New Measures Are Promising but Need Improvement.” Connected Nation was one of the stakeholders invited to contribute to the report.

Currently, more than $4 billion is available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 for broadband projects nationwide. This includes $440 million for projects encompassing mapping, local planning, computer distributions and programs that expand broadband and computer use, particularly in communities where broadband is unavailable or underutilized. So far, the NTIA has announced four awards for the SBDD program. The remaining 52 awards are expected to be announced in the next few weeks.

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