The American Reinvestment and Recovery Act appropriated $7.2 billion for the Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS) and the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications Information Administration (NTIA) to expand broadband access and adoption in communities across the U.S., which will increase jobs, spur investments in technology and infrastructure, and provide long-term economic benefits.
RUS is making loans and grants for broadband infrastructure projects in rural areas via its Broadband Initiatives Program (BIP). The NTIA is providing grants to fund comprehensive broadband infrastructure projects, public computer centers and sustainable broadband adoption projects via its Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP).
Keenwire has significant experience both directly and indirectly with rural broadband projects from grant management to network engineering. Our team members have been working on rural broadband for the past decade. It is this hands-on and vicarious experience with failures and successes, trials and tribulations by nearly 1,000 broadband operators on which we build our confidence and intimate understanding of the business, technical, deployment and operational aspects of this project.
This is how we achieved success with the North Florida Broadband Authority, one of our winning $30M grant applications that we created from inception and which Keenwire continued to contribute through network design and engineering. That same methodology and expertise has catalyzed a sister project in two more regions in Florida to due diligence in Round Two for another $32M award in the summer of 2010.
We helped to form the NFBA when the NOFA was released in partnership with a company that only knew Water and Sewer projects and the regional economic development partnership. Within 3 weeks, the Authority was established (board of 14 counties and 8 cities), raised $8M in in-kind contributions and had created a business plan and engineered a network from scratch. This entire process took the full 5 weeks allotted and we were pleased to reach due diligence in December. After a successful due diligence, the NFBA was awarded in February 2010 $30M by BTOP for the middle mile fiber-to-wireless network. This includes 6 Level 3 fiber POPs and 54 core towers, in addition to ~100 in-kind “lateral” towers.
NFBA was the first project in the country to draw down funds from the fed and it took over 6 weeks, since, no federal agencies knew what the other was doing. Some did not even know they were in charge of handing out the money. We have been forging through the processes and blazing the trail for projects like NCBA to come in for a hopefully what should be a much more smooth ride. It is these obvious similarities that make what we have done for NFBA and continue to do for them highly relevant to your situation. Both our understanding of the grant processes and continued leadership, along with our expertise in both fiber and wireless technologies make Keenwire a truly unique respondent to NCBA’s RFP.
Furthermore, you will find letters of reference from North Florida, Rivada and the Oregon Coastal Zone touting our founders and team in our Round Two grant application for statewide Oregon ($189M). Our clients and partners believe in us to such an extent that they endorsed our statewide initiative, which we started 6 weeks prior to deadline and ended up with support from nearly every legislator in Oregon, half the counties, all libraries, schools and emergency management for over 180 substantial letters of support. We are serious about our capabilities and ability to scale small and large outreach projects.
We propose to “engineer” every element of your project for the greatest success-potential based on this experience. Keenwire believes that it has the ability to take this agency and move it swiftly through completion and into operation. Our inherent intimacy with similar award projects in combination with the extensive experience of our members creates a unique formula for success that we believe will exceed the expectations of the NTIA and set a standard for stimulus deployments across the USA.
This task could not be accomplished if it weren’t for relationships and teamwork. Contributions by all parties involved: vendors, subcontractors, customers and partners are what ultimately create the vital ecosystem necessary to complete a successful project and operate the business beyond and we strive to maintain pride in healthy working relationships between our firm and all other project contributors.