January 29, 2010 By Andy Opsahl
Disappointing news reached 1,400 broadband stimulus grant applicants who got rejection letters this week from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), one of two federal agencies distributing $7.2 billion set aside in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for broadband projects.
The agency received more than 1,800 applications for the first of its two broadband stimulus funding windows. With 15 awards already announced, that leaves roughly 400 applications still in play for the first funding window. Winners are being announced on a rolling basis.
"Everybody who hasn't received a letter from us saying that their application will not receive funding is certainly still pending," said Jessica Shafer, spokeswoman for the NTIA.
Those pending applications have gone on to the agency's "due diligence" review process in which they get a more meticulous evaluation. The first review process, which eliminated 1,400 applicants, was quicker and less thorough to make judging manageable, explained Shafer.
"We take the top scoring applications, and those go into the due diligence process," Shafer said.
She encouraged rejected applicants who were determined to reapply to study awards granted so far. Shafer said they should also pore over the NTIA's new notice of funds available for the second funding window, which has a deadline of March 15. Also available is the federal government's BroadbandMatch tool for helping applicants find project partners. Equally helpful might a workshop the NTIA is conducting for broadband stimulus applicants on Friday, Jan. 29 in Denver. Those who can't attend the event can watch it via webcast, which will be linked at BroadbandUSA.gov. Below is a list of the remaining workshops scheduled:
Feb. 1, 2010
Holiday Inn at Six Flags
Feb. 2, 2010
Sioux Falls, S.D.
Best Western Ramkota Hotel
Feb. 4, 2010
The Dearborn Inn
Feb. 5, 2010
The Inn at Virginia Tech
Feb. 9, 2010
Holiday Inn Bordeaux
February 11, 2010
Wyndham Peachtree Conference Center
Feb. 12, 2010