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NTIA Extends Mapping Grants, Opens Up Funds For Other Uses

The National Telecommunications & Information Administration will
give states and other state broadband-data-grant awardees another three
years to work on broadband mapping, and open up that funding to other
broadband deployment purposes.

NTIA said May 28 that it would give
applicants until July 1 to ammend their filings to ask for more money
for mapping. The recovery act set aside $350 million for mapping, and a
deadline of Feb. 17, 2011, to get a national broadband availability map
online. That deadline still holds, but it has only handed out something
over $100 milllion. The map will be updated by NTIA every six months,
and rather than the original two-year period for funding such efforts,
which NTIA chalked up to "fiscal prudence," it has decided that there is
enough money to extend that effort to five years.

NTIA also said it
would allow the money to be used for other things broadband, including
local or regional technology planning and programs to promote computer
ownership and Internet use.

"Now that NTIA has seen initial state
data collection efforts, we are prepared to accept and evaluate
proposals for additional funding," said NTIA chief Larry Strickling.