Governor Deval Patrick created the Massachusetts Broadband Institute when he signed the Broadband Act on August 4, 2008. Chapter 231 of the Acts of 2008 established MBI as a new division within the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative. The legislation provides up to $40 million bonding authorization to close broadband gaps.
Funding features include:
Approach: public-private partnership with a co-investment model
Public bonds fund long-lived infrastructure (e.g. fiber or wireless towers)
Private partners fund complementary infrastructure and provide service
Private partners may leverage additional federal funds, e.g. RUS
- Level of funding assumes a regional approach
- Greater economies of scale than town-at-a-time
Provides for more detailed assessment of who is un-served
Facilitates the use of existing state assets for broadband deployment to the public
Bill to Ensure Massachusetts Captures Funding Opportunities
Broadband Legislation Preparing the Commonwealth for Access to Federal Stimulus Funds
BOSTON – Thursday, July 16, 2009 – As part of his Massachusetts Recovery Plan to secure the state’s economic future, Governor Deval Patrick has signed legislation to help leverage federal economic recovery funds to boost broadband services throughout Massachusetts.
Federal Broadband Stimulus
In January 2009, the United States Congress passed the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA). ARRA included $7 billion in funding for broadband initiatives. Two of these initiatives were the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) housed at the National Telecommunications Information Administration (NTIA) and the Broadband Improvement Program (BIP) administered by the Rural Utility Service (RUS). Ensuring that all Americans have access to affordable, high-speed broadband Internet is considered essential to the economic vitality of the United States. The effort to expand broadband infrastructure is often compared with earlier efforts to build the country’s electric grid and interstate highway system.
Together the BTOP and BIP will increase jobs, spur investments in technology and infrastructure, and provide long-term economic benefits across the United States and its territories.
Additionally, ARRA funded the State Broadband Initiative (SBI) program at the NTIA with $300 million. The principal mission of SBI is to fund the development of data sets and mapping of broadband infrastructure and availability in all 50 US states and six territories. This information has been collected by the NTIA and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and assembled into the first National Broadband Map.