February 10, 2010 By Andy Opsahl
Roughly 100 broadband stimulus applications connected to California are still in play for the first of the federal government's two funding windows for dispersing $7.2 billion set aside for broadband projects, according to Joe Camicia, chief of staff for the California CIO's Office.
"About 50 of those are California-only applications," Camicia said. "The other half touch California in some way, but the 50 that are all California, we think are going to provide the most jobs for Californians."
Winners of first-round funding are being announced on a rolling basis.
Camicia recently made his announcement in Sunnyvale, Calif., at an event hosted by Infinera Corp., a fiber-optics company with clients who have already won broadband stimulus grants.
Approximately 230 California applications were submitted for the first funding round, meaning 130 received rejection letters a few weeks ago, according to Camicia. Hope may not be lost for those applicants, however. Camicia is exploring the possibility of hiring a grant writer, technical consultant and financial consultant to help the rejected applicants polish their applications for resubmission during the second funding window, scheduled to run from Feb 16 to March 15.
"We can't do it all. The best thing we can do is go back and look at the round one rejections to see which applications we think are really important for this state and take another shot," Camicia said.
For the first funding window, Camicia's agency reviewed submissions from all interested California applicants and endorsed 65 before the applications were transmitted to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration and Rural Utilities Services, the two agencies charged with disbursing the $7.2 billion set aside in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for broadband projects.
For the second funding window, Camicia thinks assisting applicants before they start their revisions would be more effectual. The most emphatic advice he gave attendees at the Infinera event was to make sure their applications were connected to "anchor institutions," like community colleges, hospitals or government agencies. The federal government signaled it would place special priority on such applications when it released its application requirements for the second funding window in January.
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