July 26, 2009 By Andy Opsahl
Stiff competition awaits local governments that are seeking a piece of the $7.2 billion set aside for broadband infrastructure in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Many already have plans that were shelved after the national craze for broadband deployments imploded a few years ago.
Local governments with less developed strategies may want to learn from one initiative observers consider a likely recipient of stimulus money: OpenCape is a consortium of local government and small business representatives in Cape Cod, Mass., who spent the last two years crafting a plan to deploy a broadband backhaul network for the entire cape.
OpenCape is applying for stimulus funds to build the network. Commercial providers will be able to use the infrastructure to provide services to residents, businesses and government entities on the cape that the providers currently don't serve because it's cost prohibitive.
Funding the backhaul with federal money should make doing business less costly for "last-mile" service providers, said Daniel Gallagher, executive director of IT for Cape Cod Community College and an OpenCape representative.
"We intend to build the middle mile for the region that will serve as the conduit for all of the Internet service providers that might wish to provide last-mile services," Gallagher explained.
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