The grants and awards available in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act are attractive, but competition is fierce.

In late January 2010, 1,400 stimulus grant applicants received rejection letters after they applied for funds during the first window for broadband financing. They got the bad news from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), an agency is awarding some of the $7.2 billion in stimulus funds reserved for broadband projects.

North Carolina applicants hope they'll be lucky in subsequent chances. The city of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County have united to create a comprehensive broadband network for their governments, and officials think stimulus money is an ideal way to help pay for it.

They've acted quickly. The jurisdictions sent their grant application during the second application window, from Feb. 16 to March 15. Those awards won't be given until sometime between June and September.

"We think we have a great story for our application, but I realize we'll be competing against a lot of other applications. So this is not a foregone conclusion that our idea is the best," said Dennis Baucom, director of Charlotte's Network Technology Services (NTS) Division.

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Hilton Collins, Staff Writer Hilton Collins  | 

Hilton Collins is a former staff writer for Government Technology and Emergency Management magazines.