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$4.8 Billion in Funds Available for Broadband for Indian Tribes

NTIA's BTOP and USDA's BIP Program Application Period Opens 2/16/10

GREENWICH, Conn., Feb. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- The second round of the funding for rural broadband is available for Indian tribes and others opens February 16, 2010. The Department of Commerce's National Telecommunication and Information Administration (NTIA) is distributing $2.6 billion in Broadband Technology Opportunity Program (BTOP) grants and the Department of Agriculture's Rural Utility Service (RUS) is distributing $2.2 billion dollars in Broadband Infrastructure Program (BIP) loans and grants. The Native American Broadband Association (NABA) is helping tribes and technology companies partner to apply for these grants.

"Tribes may have a better chance in this second round since the rules for filing for the BIP and in particular the BTOP funding are better adapted to tribes' situations," said Harold Pruner, Chairman of NABA. "In the second round BTOP has seven criteria to get funding priority and six of these criteria match up well with many tribes, so telecommunication companies are looking to partner with tribes so both have a better chance of getting funding," he said.

The BIP program has a 12 category points system and RUS' Administrator has discretionary criteria for additional points which can result in additional points for tribes. ARRA also provides funding for public computer centers, programs promoting broadband adoption, rural libraries and satellite broadband services. In the first round a satellite program serving Alaskan native villages received $25MM.

NABA has posted the Notices of Funds Availability for the BIP and BTOP programs at www.NativeAmericanBroadband.org, along with summaries of the two NOFAs. The site also provides a contact form for tribes and technology companies that are looking for partners. With the filing period closing March 15, 2010 tribes and companies are actively looking for partners now.

NABA has also worked with the FCC on including tribes in the National Broadband plan coming out March 17, 2010. "We are pleased that the FCC will include an Indian element in its recommended NBP, because this will pay long term benefits for Indian Country," said Harold Pruner.

About NABA: The Native American Broadband Association was created to help get broadband services to Native American tribes, the most underserved group in America.

SOURCE The Native American Broadband Association

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