NTIA Provides BTOP Progress Report

Grant Recipients Spent $420M of Government Broadband Funds in Q3

Broadband stimulus grant recipients spent more than $420 million in federal money to deploy and promote broadband in the third quarter of 2012 (ended June), according to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration's latest quarterly report on its BTOP broadband grant program.

Grant recipients matched that with $125 million of their own money, according to the NTIA to Congress.

Almost 15,000 miles of new or upgraded network was deployed in the quarter, accoring to NTIA, bringing the total to more than 72,000 in 47 states and territories added through the grant program.

NTIA says as part of its oversight of the projects, it made 31 visits to recipients responsible for $925 million in federal grant money, and that to date (again, that is through June), had visited nearly 65% of BTOP grant recipients.

"From April to June 2012, BTOP grant recipients continued to demonstrate strong performance across the Program's FY12 goals," said NTIA. "These positive results have helped the program deliver significant progress in areas such as new fiber-optic infrastructure construction...and thousands of new broadband subscribers now experiencing the benefits of high-speed Internet service."

The report says that through June, 380,000 households and 8,000 businesses have signed up for broadband due to the digital literacy training also being underwritten by the grants, with almost 55,000 added in the most recent quarter. That 380,000 figure tops a BTOP target of 350,000 new subs by 2012.

Cable operators and other telecoms continue to be concerned that grant recipients are using the money to overbuild existing plant.