Archive for October 2009

Georgia’s Perdue Provides a Brochure

Georgia’s round one comment on the stimulus is beautifully prepared. Given the short amount of time given to states, many chose to do the minimum required, or did what they could. Georgia and its governor Sonny Perdue (R) has excelled in the state letter to the federal government, here taken from the excellent Baller Herbst Law Group website.

In some cases, the state has recommended a lower grant or grant / loan combo than was requested. That’s excellent work.

One applicant not listed: Jedai Networks, which filed 28 applications. I don’t have the details on Jedai’s applications, but I worry that some submitted too many applications. Utopian Wireless Corporation, on the other hand, was on the list. Utopian appears to have done its homework.

The state managed to recommend some of the smaller applications, such as a $202,000 request from the Effingham County Board of Education. This is a good sign. I hope that the states have time to work with applicants for smaller amounts of funds.

Arizona Governor Brewer Recommends In Three Levels

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer (D) divded her 21 recommendations into three levels: Exeptional, Outstanding, and Deserving.

I could not find the letter on a government site but obtained it through the StimuluatingBroadband blog people — Pratt Networkshere.

The only Exceptional middle mile project in the letter in the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority, a roughly $34 million project, half grant and half loan, mixing fiber, microwave, and wireless. No objections to it! Looks like a good project.

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One Percent of Stimulus Should Go to Oversight

The GAO report shows that organizations that are managing the stimulus money are overwhelmed. They need people, and in order to hire people, they need cash.

I think that one percent of the $787 billion stimulus should go to oversight. That’s $7.87 billion. For the $7.2 billion broadband stimulus, the organizations involved would get $72 million.

Assuming they’re hiring someone for a year at 40 hours per week for 50 weeks, at a rate of $50 per hour, each person costs $100,000. Assume the total cost of hiring and benefits etc. brings that to $150,000 per person.

That hires 480 people, which is reasonable. Some visit projects, at least one in each state _and territory_ and some work in DC helping evaluate grants.

Overall, this money would employ about 48,000 people — which may seem a lot — but they’re needed!

Furthermore, to the extent that the stimulus is primarily about creating jobs and secondly about not wasting money, this $7.2 billion expense would be well spent, according to the goals of the program.

North Carolina’s Governor Chooses MCNC

North Carolina’s governor Bev Purdue (D), with great restraint, recommended only eight stimulus applications and highlighted one, a $40 million project called MCNC to extend a fiber network that was built for universities into rural areas as a middle mile project. The request is for $29 million and is supported by a cash match of $8 million and in-kind infrastructure worth $3 million.

I also like MCNC — and so may ISPs — as this looks like infrastructure that will be truly open for competition.

The governor made some tough choices with regard to public computer center applications — I don’t know the cities involved and cannot really say what should be done here.

In the sustainable broadband adoption area of the stimulus, I’ve seen some very flaky and strange proposals, but the one endorsed by Purdue, McDowell County Schools, looks very good to me.

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Alabama Endorses Most of its Stimulus Grant Applications

The StimulatingBroadband blog once again does a great job of finding the story behind the governor’s letter. It involves a committee chosen by governor Bob Riley (R).

The governor claims to have chosen 41 of 130 applications covering the state, but most of those filed from within the state were recommended. In addition, application from Utopian Wireless of Bethesda, MD, a company that filed 40 WiMAX applications nationwide, were recommended, as were middle mile fiber applications of St. Petersburg, FL-based Tower Cloud, Inc.

Several large requests are not on the list. East Alabama Medical Services wanted about $5 million grant / $5 million in loans to help connect about 500 ambulances to the internet using Panasonic Toughbooks. Trillion Corporation had an interesting plan for education in Southern black belt cities that is not on the list.

I think that the federal government will not be able to approve all of the state’s recommended programs.

Should Missouri’s Jay Nixon Pick Show-Me?

One of the many difficult choices facing those allocating the stimulus funds is choosing between fixed wireless, which deploys faster and to more people, and fiber, which deploys a higher quality service but takes much longer to build and is a great deal more expensive.

In Missouri, governor Jay Nixon (D) has chosen, in his letter to the federal government, one project, Show-Me Technologies, which will partner with the state to deliver fiber to areas that will lower broadband costs for state institutions.

That angers Victoria Proffer. She suspects that the state pretended to have an open request for information process but that Show-Me Technologies had in fact won the race before it was run.

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AT&T Wireless Data Congestion Self-Inflicted?

Brough’s slashdotted analysis of the issues in the AT&T Wireless network, built on a mailing list and the work of David Reed, makes interesting reading.

Some Filed Too Many Stimulus Grant Applications

Some applicants filed so many applications I have to wonder why. Were the grant writers paid per application? There seems to be no reason.

Wireless equipment maker DigitalBridge Communications Corp of Ashburn, VA filed 64 applications across several midwestern and southern states.

New EA Inc, which as Flow Mobile filed 112 applications, plus one application as New EA, also submitted 19 pages of comments to the FCC concerning the broadband stimulus. A key request was that fixed and mobile wireless be considered separate services. Many will disagree.

Tower maker GlenMartin of Boonville, MO filed 14 applications.

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Illinois Governor’s Stimulus Letter is Nearly Perfect

The broadband stimulus is supposed to be a transparent process, with input from experts and from communities at every step. One key representative is the state’s governor. Illinois governor Pat Quinn (D), Blagojevich’s replacement, released his letter concerning the broadband stimulus here.

The letter recommends some of the most expensive proposals. Central Management Services, which manages a fiber network serving over 8,000 schools, is requesting $120 million to upgrade the network to serve 69 counties with 3,838 anchor institutions. It’s a massive project.

The City of Rockford requested $70 million for another massive fiber middle mile project.

Clearwire asked for $30 million to support a $62 million project. Parts of the summary were redacted.

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In Favor of Small Stimulus Projects

A quick blog note in favor of projects that cost less than $100,000. When we first learned about the stimulus, we expected applications to ask for large quantities of cash.

I was surprised, then, to see public libraries in small towns requesting the funds to buy 6 PCs, or 20, or 10.

The public library of Coshocton, OH, population 11,682 in the 2000 census, asked for $30,839 to buy 12 laptops and a smartboard.

The city of Grapevine, TX, a suburb of Fort Worth, asked for $59,954 to build a public computer center that would also teach English language classes.

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