geospatial information is much needed. Transmitting that information requires a fair amount of bandwidth, and broadband pipes have become a potential conduit for voice traffic.

That's why California is trying to determine whether it can apply for funds under the broadband stimulus provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The current window for applications, which opened Tuesday, provides $4.7 billion for broadband projects in unserved and underserved communities. "There is a public sector -- a public safety -- part of looking at how can we maximize and utilize those dollars. And how can we help that be a way of expanding broadband in the state," Takai said.

Bettenhausen noted that while much of the broadband stimulus money will be focused on bringing broadband to communities to spur educational opportunities, the state needs to see how it can tap into those projects even if it doesn't get its public safety grant applications approved.

Funding for broadband expansion projects from ARRA is being awarded in three phases. The first was from April to June. The current window is open from July 14 to August 14, with awards expected in November. The last of the funding is expected to be awarded by June 2010. Takai said California plans to apply in the current application period as well as the final one, which will begin at the end of the year.