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Commerce Department Awards Grant for Broadband Mapping and Planning in Georgia

Wednesday, December 23, 2009  Contact: Office of Communications 404-651-7774, Jessica Schafer 202-482-5670 or


WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced that it has awarded Georgia one of 15 grants to fund broadband mapping and planning activities under NTIA’s State Broadband Data and Development Grant Program.

“New broadband access means more capacity and better reliability for telecommunication services,” said Governor Perdue. “Creating an advanced network promotes economic development, expands educational opportunities and improves the availability and efficiency of government services.”

Other grant recipients are Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, and Tennessee. The program, funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, will increase broadband access and adoption through better data collection and broadband planning. The data will be displayed in NTIA’s national broadband map, a tool that will inform policymakers’ efforts and provide consumers with improved information on the broadband Internet services available to them.

Broadband mapping and data collection for Georgia will provide:

  • Better fact based decision making by state government such as public policy and programs
  • Enable quality investment decisions by public and private sector anchor institutions
  • Increase citizen knowledge on service provider offerings
  • Identification of unserved and underserved areas to target new and expanded service offerings.


       With the federal award for the North Georgia Network project last week and with this award today, Georgia continues the efforts to expand broadband access that it started with the Wireless Communities Georgia program. Georgia’s strategic approach to the issue of broadband access has made the state very competitive in the federal grant process.

Governor Perdue has been a strong advocate for Georgia broadband projects in discussions with Vice President Biden and in letters to U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. Governor Perdue began working on bringing broadband to rural areas of the state in 2006 when the General Assembly, at the Governor’s request, appropriated funds to expand wireless broadband access. The OneGeorgia Authority, chaired by Governor Perdue, established a separate program to assist rural communities seeking to establish broadband networks of any kind.

NTIA received applications representing all 50 states, 5 territories, and the District of Columbia to participate in the program, meaning that all governments that were eligible to apply for grants did so, whether directly or through a designated entity. Twenty-one grants have previously been announced under this program and the agency expects to continue announcing awards over the coming weeks.

“Congress rightly recognized that increasing broadband access and adoption in communities being left behind in the 21st Century economy depends on better data collection and broadband planning. Our goal is to carry out this initiative on schedule and at the lowest cost necessary to do the job right,” said Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information and NTIA Administrator Lawrence E. Strickling. “We’ve now awarded more than half the grants and will continue to work with remaining applicants so they can bring the benefits of broadband to more of their citizens.”

The award of approximately $1.7 million goes to the Georgia Technology Authority for broadband data collection and mapping activities over a two-year period and nearly $500,000 for broadband planning activities over a two-year period in Georgia, bringing the total grant award to approximately $2.2 million. The Georgia Technology Authority is the designated entity for the state of Georgia.

NTIA carefully evaluates each application to determine whether the applicant directly represents the interests of the state. This state-applicant connection is especially critical in the context of the broadband planning activities that NTIA considers the responsibility of the state. The States of Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, South Carolina and Tennessee are providing direction and supervision to the planning activities that will be undertaken by their designated entity, which is a non-state government entity, to ensure that planning funds are used to address the specific needs of the state.

Awardees will collect and verify the availability, speed, and location of broadband across the state. This activity is to be conducted on a semi-annual basis between 2009 and 2011, with the data to be presented in a clear and accessible format to the public, government, and the research community.

The State Broadband Data and Development Grant Program is a matching grant program that implements the joint purposes of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the Broadband Data Improvement Act (BDIA). The program will provide grants to assist states or their designees in gathering and verifying state-specific data on the availability, speed, location, and technology type of broadband services. The data they collect and compile will also be used to develop publicly available state-wide broadband maps and to inform the comprehensive, interactive, and searchable national broadband map that NTIA is required by the Recovery Act to create and make publicly available by February 17, 2011.

The national broadband map will publicly display the geographic areas where broadband service is available; the technology used to provide the service; the speeds of the service; and broadband service availability at public schools, libraries, hospitals, colleges, universities, and public buildings. The national map will also be searchable by address and show the broadband providers offering service in the corresponding census block or street segment.

Awardees are required to contribute at least 20 percent non-federal matching funds toward project costs. In addition, while the BDIA mandates that each state may designate only one eligible entity to receive funds under the program, each state's applicant will be carefully evaluated and must meet the standards described in NTIA's Notice of Funds Availability for this program in order to receive funding.

U.S. Department of Commerce's NTIA serves as the executive branch agency principally responsible for advising the President on communications and information policy.  For more information about the NTIA, visit


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