State governments may seek additional funding for up to three additional years on broadband projects. The announcement comes from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) who recognized  that "better data and strategic planning are needed on the state level.
Launched last year, NTIA's State Broadband Data and Development Grant Program assists states in gathering data on the availability, speed, and location of broadband services. Originally funded for a two-year period, it has now been extended to five. States can now apply for three additional years of mapping and data collection work, as well as other initiatives, including state broadband task forces or advisory boards, technical assistance programs, local or regional technology planning efforts, and programs to promote increased computer ownership and Internet usage.
As we detailed in a previous Dispatch , the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act apportioned billions of dollars in funding for state broadband initiatives, of which more than $100 million in grants have already been distributed. One example of these efforts is Maine's "Three-Ring Binder" network, which was launched thanks to $25.4 million awarded by the NTIA to reach the under-served and unserved rural areas of Maine. Rep. Cynthia Dill introduced LD 1778  to classify dark fiber as a utility and broadband provider to create a broadband sustainability fund to support "last mile" high-speed Internet infrastructure.