grants

Content tagged with "grants"

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Destination Crenshaw Breathes Life Into 'Open Air Museum' and Emerging ‘Digital Equity Zone’

On a map, the Crenshaw District is a 2.9 square-mile neighborhood in South Central Los Angeles, home to nearly 30,000 mostly black residents.

In the popular imagination, Crenshaw is the backdrop for the Oscar-nominated movie "Boyz In the Hood" – the real life neighborhood that cultivated the likes of former Los Angeles Mayor Thomas Bradley; rappers-turned-actors Ice Cube and Ice T; and the late rapper/entrepreneur Nipsey Hussle.

But on the streets of Crenshaw, a transformative vision is unfolding – an initiative local leaders describe as “a reparative development project.”

The idea is to inspire and empower neighborhood residents with strategic investments rather than displace them through gentrification. The effort is being led by Destination Crenshaw, a nonprofit community organization established in 2017 to celebrate the history and culture of Black Los Angeles.

The most visible part of the vision is to create the largest Black public art project in the nation along Crenshaw Boulevard, the 1.3 mile spine of the neighborhood – or what Destination Crenshaw describes as an “open air museum” centered around “pocket parks” and a “comprehensive streetscape design” that will feature commissioned murals and sculptures from local Black artists.

Pennsylvania Snubs Community Broadband, Small ISPs In Latest Broadband Grant Round

Telecom monopolies have hoovered up the lion’s share of $214 million recently doled out by the Pennsylvania state Broadband Infrastructure Program (BIP), with cooperatives, smaller ISPs, and community-owned networks left largely out in the cold.

It’s not a surprising move for a state long considered politically hostile to community-owned and operated broadband networks, though industry experts say this latest round of awards was particularly egregious when it comes to dodgy politics and its total lack of any real transparency.

According to an announcement by the Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority (PBDA), this $204 million in Broadband Infrastructure Program (BIP) grant awards will help fund 53 projects in 42 counties across Pennsylvania, connecting 40,000 homes and businesses, bringing high-speed Internet to over 100,000 Pennsylvanians.

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PA Broadband Development Authority logo

The awards were funded with the state’s Capital Projects Fund allocation. After matching funds by winning bidders are included, the total broadband investment is expected to exceed $407 million. A complete breakdown of all grant award winners can be found here.

Verizon was the biggest grant award winner, nabbing $78.3 million. Other big grant award winners were Comcast ($61.7 million), Windstream ($12 million) Frontier ($3.5 million) and Brightspeed ($782,000). A few small private ISPs also won awards including Adams Cable ($387,969) Upward Broadband ($1,476,288) and Alleghenies Broadband ($1,809,524).

Schoharie County, NY Eyes New Fiber Network On Back Of $30 Million Grant

Schoharie County, New York officials have applied for a $30 million New York State ConnectALL grant with the hopes of eventually building a $33 million, county-wide fiber network.

The shape and scope of the network has yet to be determined, but the county hopes to build a network that brings affordable access to the rural, agriculture-heavy county.

“Schoharie County applied for the grant under the NYS MIP program on April 19th, in an attempt to bring high speed broadband access to every premise in the county,” Deputy County Administrator Jim Halios told ILSR.

Notoriously over-optimistic FCC data currently states that Schoharie County enjoys 92 percent broadband coverage county-wide. In reality, broadband access in the county is largely dominated by a monopoly enjoyed by Charter Spectrum, which was nearly kicked out of the state entirely in 2019 for misleading regulators and failing to evenly deploy access.

Anti Muni Broadband Budget Amendment Gets Nixed in New York

Advocates for better Internet access are breathing a sigh of relief in New York as the State Assembly passed a budget bill yesterday that did not include an amendment that would have undermined the state’s municipal broadband grant program.

As we reported last month, buried in language near the bottom of the Assembly budget proposal was a Trojan horse legislative sources said was being pushed by lobbyists representing Charter Spectrum.

The amendment, which did not survive the budget reconciliation process, proposed to limit Municipal Infrastructure Program grants to projects that targeted “unserved and underserved locations only” – a restriction that would have made municipal broadband projects in the state less likely to become financially viable.

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New York State Capitol Empire State Plaza

Created as part of New York’s billion dollar ConnectALL Initiative, the MIP is specifically designed to support municipal broadband projects. Such projects are routinely targeted by lobbyists for the big monopoly providers intent on preventing any competition to their often spotty, high-cost service offerings.

Broadband Bills To Enhance Local Autonomy Thwarted By Wisconsin State Senate

*In partnership with Broadband Breakfast, we occasionally republish each other's content. The following story by Broadband Breakfast Reporter Jericho Casper was originally published here.

In a setback to efforts aimed at enhancing broadband access across Wisconsin, the state Senate dealt a blow to three key bills aimed at improving various aspects of broadband provision Monday.

The first bill in question, AB 1180, aimed to give local governments more autonomy by allowing them to apply for broadband grants directly, rather than requiring them to partner with a telecommunications utility or a for-profit organization, as is required under current (state) law.

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Wisconsin State Seal

The bill also proposed expanding the permissible uses of grants beyond infrastructure construction and would have eliminated a requirement for a city, village, or town to prepare a feasibility report before constructing or operating facilities for public telecommunications, cable TV or broadband services.

Presently, Wisconsin law necessitates a public hearing before a local government can pass an ordinance or resolution to provision such facilities. Additionally, at least 30 days before this hearing, these entities must furnish a comprehensive report to the public, detailing the facility's costs, revenues, and a cost-benefit analysis spanning three years. AB 1180 would have waived the need for this report preparation.

Manding Internet Service Providers Deliver Advertised Speeds

Massachusetts and New York Look To Make Affordable Housing Broadband Ready

Massachusetts and New York officials hope to entice affordable housing property owners with new grant programs that would pay the retrofitting costs to expand high-speed Internet connectivity into decades-old affordable housing developments.

The programs aim to focus on the multitude of multi-dwelling units (MDUs) in those states, particularly housing developments built before the advent of the Internet.

With property owners and Internet service providers (ISPs) often reluctant to pay the costs of getting these buildings up to broadband speed, Massachusetts and New York have launched initiatives – using a portion of their federal broadband funds – to chip away at the digital divide in housing developments where a significant number of tenants live in buildings not wired to support reliable broadband or where the service is not affordable, thanks to agreements with monopoly providers.

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NY ConnectALL logo

New York Bytes Into Broadband Affordability

In December, New York Governor Kathy Hochul’s office announced the state’s ConnectALL Office (CAO) was setting aside $100 million New York State received from the federal Capital Projects Fund (courtesy of the American Rescue Plan Act) to bring broadband connectivity to 100,000 affordable housing units across the Empire State.

In announcing New York's Affordable Housing Connectivity Program, Hochul said:

“With work, school, and essential government services going digital, affordable homes need affordable, reliable broadband, and this funding will help bolster our efforts to build housing equipped with the basic tools that New Yorkers need to succeed.”

Ottawa County, Michigan Strikes $25 Million Partnership With 123Net

Ottawa County, Michigan officials say they’ve struck a new public private partnership (PPP) with 123Net on a $25 million fiber deployment that aims to bring more uniform – and affordable – broadband access to Michigan’s seventh largest county by population.

The Ottawa County Board of Commissioners voted last month to approve a master agreement and letter of intent with 123Net.

The finalized agreement calls for 123Net to spend two years deploying 400 miles of new fiber infrastructure as part of an open access, carrier neutral fiber network to bring new competition – and affordable fiber – to 10,000 county residents and businesses.

The $25 million network will be funded by $14 million from Michigan’s Realizing Opportunity with Broadband Infrastructure Networks (ROBIN) grant program; $7.5 million from Ottawa County’s American Rescue Plan Act funds, and $3.5 million in private funding from 123NET.

“We’re at an interesting time in broadband deployment as there are a number of unique funding programs that counties and municipalities can access,” said Chuck Irvin, Executive Vice President of 123NET, said in a statement. “123NET is proud to be part of this exciting project.”

At the same time, county officials say they’ve struck a separate deal with Tilson Technology to build new wireless towers to deliver fixed wireless service to an undetermined number of rural county residents for whom deploying fiber is cost prohibitive.

Municipal Broadband in Colorado Big Winners In Latest Wave Of State Grants

Colorado has long been home to some of the most innovative municipal broadband projects in the country. That trend has only accelerated with last year’s voter-approved elimination of municipal broadband restrictions, and it’s now being buoyed by a massive new wave of state grants that should further expand affordable broadband to long-neglected parts of the state.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis recently announced the first of multiple broadband investments using stimulus funding from the U.S. Treasury’s Capital Projects Fund (CPF) program. The CPF is funded by $10 billion made possible by the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), and is a key part of the state’s goal to bring affordable broadband to 99 percent of Colorado residents by 2027.

According to the Governor’s office, the state just authorized $113 million in CPF funds on 13 projects that will bring fiber service to nearly 19,000 homes and businesses across Colorado. State officials say the funding will be heavily focused on projects in the South and Southwest portion of the Centennial State, where connectivity needs are greatest.

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Colorado State Seal

The Colorado Broadband Office says it received 112 applications asking for more than $642 million in broadband funding across the state–five times greater than the allotted awards.

Predictions for 2024 - Episode 585 of the Community Broadband Bits Podcast

The fading sound of holiday bells and soft stillness that comes with plunging temps can only mean one thing; it's January again, which means it's time to break out the crystal ball and have a conversation about the year to come. Joining Christopher in the recording booth are a slew of CBN staffers new and veteran to join in the collective task of putting words to feelings both foreboding and optimistic about the year to come.

Will we see the first BEAD-connected home this year? Will the Affordabel Connectivity Program get re-funded? How will the maps look in 11 more months, with slews of challenge data? How many new municipal ftth networks will we see founded in 2024? State preemption laws rolled back, or re-introduced? Tune in for answers to all these and more.

This show is 48 minutes long and can be played on this page or via Apple Podcasts or the tool of your choice using this feed.

Transcript below.

We want your feedback and suggestions for the show-please e-mail us or leave a comment below.

Listen to other episodes or view all episodes in our index. See other podcasts from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance.

Thanks to Arne Huseby for the music. The song is Warm Duck Shuffle and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license.

Cullman Electric Cooperative Launches Next Phase Of Fiber Expansion

Cullman, Alabama-based Cullman Electric Cooperative says it is launching a new phase of fiber deployment after receiving a $7 million grant to bring affordable fiber access to long-neglected Cullman and Winston counties.

The financing was made possible by the Alabama Broadband Accessibility Fund (ABAF), funded by the 2021 American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). The state has already dedicated more than $82 million in funding for Alabama broadband deployments, bringing broadband access to 72,000 currently unserved residents.

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Cullman Sprout Fiber Internet logo

Cullman’s $7 million portion will bring affordable fiber access to 1,300 families. Known as Sprout Fiber Internet, Cullman currently offers residential customers symmetrical 300 Mbps (megabit per second) service for $60 a month; symmetrical 1 Gbps (gigabit per second) service for $80 a month, and symmetrical 2 Gbps service for $120 a month.

That’s significantly faster and cheaper service than is currently offered by any of the dominant private telecom monopolies in Cullman (predominantly AT&T or Charter/Spectrum), without usage caps, hidden fees, or long-term contracts.