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GigEPAC FAQs: ARRA/BTOP

  • 1. What is the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA)?
    The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) was signed into law on February 17, 2009. It establishes $7.2 billion in funding for broadband infrastructure, public computing centers and sustainable broadband adoption programs as part of the overall $787 billion Recovery package.
  • 2. Who oversees the broadband portion of the ARRA?
    Two federal agencies are designated to distribute the funds: the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and the US Department of Agriculture's Rural Utility Service (RUS).

    NTIA is distributing funds under the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP); RUS is distributing funds under the Broadband Initiatives Program (BIP).
  • 3. What is the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP)?
    The Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) is under the auspices of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). ARRA legislation designates $4.7 billion to be dispersed.
  • 4. What is the Broadband Initiatives Program (BIP)?
    The Broadband Initiatives Program (BIP) is under the auspices of the US Department of Agriculture's Rural Utility Service (RUS) and is also referred to as program of RUS Rural Development. ARRA legislation designates $2.5 billion to be dispersed.
  • 5. When was Round 1 BTOP funding?
    The final awards for Round 1 funding were announced on April 26, 2010. Overall, BTOP Round 1 involved 82 grants for $1.2 billion in federal funding. Beneficiaries include rural areas, urban areas, tribal areas, low-income areas, the public safety community, the educational community, small businesses, minority businesses and those with disabilities.
  • 6. What is Broadband USA?
    The Broadband USA web portal was created in an effort to streamline the application process for the first round of ARRA broadband funding. It is shared by both the NTIA's Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) and the RUS Broadband Initiatives Program (BIP). www.broadbandusa.gov
  • 7. When was Round 2 Funding?
    On January 15, 2010, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and US Department of Agriculture's Rural Utility Service (RUS) released the Notice of Funds Availability (NOFA) for the second and final round of ARRA Broadband Funding. This round made $4.8 billion available to community organizations, municipalities and private entities that submitted broadband proposals targeting urban, rural and non-rural areas. The final awards were announced on September 27, 2010.
  • 8. How is Com Net fulfilling the required 30 percent financial match?
    Com Net is using funds from operating cash flow and private financing.

GigEPAC FAQs: Impact on Ohio

  • 1. How does this improve broadband access in Ohio?
    The GigEPAC collaborators are expanding the backbone access for the local and statewide networks, resulting in a broader range of affordable broadband services to their clients. This will, in turn, provide enhanced and extended broadband Internet, video and voice services to businesses and households in unserved and underserved areas of the state. This project will add approximately 700 miles of broadband services to rural and underserved communities throughout western Ohio.
  • 2. Will the expansion include my county?
    Our project will reach 28 western counties in Ohio.
  • 3. How many jobs will the proposals create?
    In keeping with the objective of the stimulus package to revitalize communities, the GigEPAC project will stimulate the demand for broadband, spur economic growth, and create jobs. Based upon the methodology used to estimate job creation (provided by the Council of Economic Advisors' ARRA Job Creation Formula and Guidelines), it is projected to generate 315 direct jobs, 105 indirect jobs and 118 induced jobs.

GigEPAC FAQs: Logistics

  • 1. Who can access the fiber?
    We are using an open access model. Any provider is able to access the fiber at reasonable rates and terms.
  • 2. What is the planned network type and technology?
    Today our network is comprised of more than 600 miles of optical fiber using state-of-the-art switches, routers and ethernet switches, providing Ohio with an advanced telecommunications network dedicated to research, education and economic competitiveness. The grant will add approximately 700 fiber miles.

    We will support an advanced packet-based architecture using Internet protocol (IP) to create one of the most flexible, scalable and cost-effective infrastructures in the country. The new infrastructure will be equipped for both middle mile and statewide capacity to support new initiatives with a focus on serving the economically disadvantaged, bringing broadband to unserved and underserved areas in Ohio.
  • 3. How long will the projects take to build?
    As required by the terms of the grant, the projects must complete 2/3 of the planned build within two years, and be completely finished by the end of three years.