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Alcatel-Lucent has announced its “Broadband for All” program in the United States, which provides advisory services to help telecommunications companies, municipalities and developers apply for broadband stimulus funds as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Tax Act (ARRA) of 2009. The Act provides more than $7 billion in grants, loans and loan guarantees to unserved and underserved rural areas, offering them broadband access and services that have been previously limited or unavailable.
More than 6,200 small service providers, municipalities, utilities and developers provide communications services to residents of rural areas throughout the United States. Alcatel-Lucent’s “Broadband for All” program offers telecom providers a turnkey service to apply for government funding including grant application assistance, as well as technology solutions to enable them to upgrade their voice, video and data services for the 21st century. The ARRA of 2009 represents the government’s largest commitment to accelerate the availability of broadband technology for the rural and underserved markets, as well as public safety.
“The stimulus bill offers a unique opportunity for service providers, municipalities and developers to upgrade their networks for decades to come with technology that supports broadband access and services,” said Rich Wonders, vice president of Strategic Marketing for Alcatel-Lucent’s Americas region. “Not only is this a chance to offer their customers the kinds of broadband access enjoyed in more densely populated areas, but this represents a significant opportunity to create jobs throughout the U.S. The single largest cost component of deploying rural broadband is in the physical construction and deployment of the network, so these projects will create jobs as well as result in much better communications services for the residences and businesses in those communities.”
“The Broadband Stimulus funding is a significant opportunity for communications providers to extend broadband service to difficult-to-serve areas, but the clock is ticking,” said Nancy Victory, partner, Wiley Rein LLP and former administrator of the NTIA. “The application process is sure to be challenging and time-consuming, and the competition for funding is likely to be stiff. Given the aggressive schedule set by the government for awarding the funds, interested entities should be planning their projects now and identifying resources they should bring to bear to compete for funding.”