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.
One point in its favor is that it described specific equipment that will be deployed to schools: Cisco Aironet Access Points and Wireless Controllers. In addition, it will deploy 1,300 laptops to schools. Thus, the $3 million project will deliver tangible hardware and not just training or other things whose cost and value are difficult to measure such as software.
I was surprised to see a BPL project in the list, the French Broad Electric Membership Corporation, but the anchor institutions the project proposes to cover are excellent and the speeds, if realized, are impressive: 1 Mbps symmetric for $49.95 per month and the same for business at $129.95 per month.
I am not surprised to find the governor ignoring projects covering all 50 states, and also projects that cover a large number of states. These projects range from satellite broadband from Huges or EchoStar to education by the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor.