Grants up to $100k now available for improving broadband access and use
Community and region-wide broadband planning efforts get an assist from new grant funds available through the Washington State Broadband Office.
The Washington State Department of Commerce today announced that applications are available for the 2013 Local Technology Planning Team grant program. The grants awards will range from $50,000 to $100,000 and are part of the work of Commerce’s Washington State Broadband Office. This is the second year of the grant program and last year’s grant recipients gathered information on community needs through meetings and surveys, improved mapping of broadband service areas and began planning programs to help low-income families use the internet.
The Washington State Broadband Map shows a steadily improving picture of broadband access in the state thanks in part to millions of public and private dollars invested in broadband in recent years. But some communities still struggle to get adequate broadband speeds for their needs or to make the best use of networks already in their community.
“Washington is well-known for high rates of broadband use, a broadband-connected economy and better than average network speeds, but we must keep building our competitive advantage,” said Brian Bonlender, director of the Washington State Department of Commerce. “Economic development and job creation can occur anywhere in the state with the appropriate infrastructure, and broadband is an essential component.”
The grant application deadline is 5 p.m. on April 30 and grant awards will be announced in June. Application instructions and the grant application can be found on the Broadband Office website at www.broadband.wa.gov under Local Technology Planning Team Grants tab. The competitive grant process is expected to draw dozens of applications, many from communities that have already begun work on broadband issues.
“As the state’s broadband network continues to expand, we will need to increase both access to higher speeds and our technology skills to stay competitive,” said Will Saunders, program and policy director for the Broadband Office. “Communities that apply for these grants have already begun planning for their future needs.”
The Broadband Office was created in 2009 legislation and is charged with coordination, programming, and outreach on opportunities for funding, education and awareness of broadband issues. The Office’s work is funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act by the National Telecommunications and Information Agency.