The Arizona Government Information Technology Agency has submitted an application for a $4.3 million broadband mapping and planning grant, through funds controlled by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), state CIO Chad Kirkpatrick announced Thursday.

If approved, the $4.3 million grant -- the maximum amount allowed -- would help Arizona map the state's broadband capabilities so that all communities that are "underserved" or "unserved" by broadband are identified, Kirkpatrick explained in a news release.

Bringing broadband to underserved and unserved communities is one eligibility requirement of securing grants from the $7.2 billion available for broadband projects from the NTIA and the Rural Utilities Service.

"Broadband service to these areas will open the door to providing better health care, education, public safety and business opportunities to more Arizonans," Kirkpatrick said.

Texas and other states have joined Arizona in pursuit of the grant money, which will come from a $240 million pool allocated by the State Broadband Data and Development Grant Program. The program's aim is to give states funding assistance so that they will develop "state-specific" data on broadband deployment and adoption rates. The NTIA will use that data, as well as other sources, to develop a comprehensive national map of broadband coverage. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act requires that the national map be made public by February 2011.

NTIA spokesman Mark Tolbert said Friday that the agency would soon release details on BroadbandUSA.gov of which states are seeking funds for broadband mapping, and more information about grant proposals that were submitted prior to the Aug. 20 deadline.