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State casts doubt on Digital Philadelphia vision

Doubts have surfaced regarding the city’s Digital Philadelphia broadband vision after the state recommended two dozen proposals for federal stimulus dollars to the federal agency responsible for dolling out $4.6 billion for broadband expansion Thursday. Digital Philadelphia barely made the cut. The City of Philadelphia’s $21 million proposal for middle mile infrastructure that would connect […]

In a letter to the NTIA, a table shows "highly recommended" state proposals for federal broadband stimulus dollars. The City of Philadelphia did not receive a recommendation for its Digital Philadelphia $21 million middle mile infrastructure proposal.

In a letter to the NTIA from the Governor's Office, a table shows "highly recommended" state proposals for federal broadband stimulus dollars. The City of Philadelphia did not receive a recommendation for its Digital Philadelphia $21 million middle mile infrastructure proposal.
Doubts have surfaced regarding the city’s Digital Philadelphia broadband vision after the state recommended two dozen proposals for federal stimulus dollars to the federal agency responsible for dolling out $4.6 billion for broadband expansion Thursday.
Digital Philadelphia barely made the cut.
The City of Philadelphia’s $21 million proposal for middle mile infrastructure that would connect city assets and could help bridge the digital divide wasn’t recommended. The Free Library of Philadelphia’s request for $14 million for adoption programs, like an improved city-wide Web portal, received a nod as a “supported” project, an honorable mention behind 13 state projects that are “highly recommended.” A third submission under the Digital Philadelphia moniker, a $2.3 million bid from the Philadelphia Housing Authority for public computer centers, received the highly recommended nod.

Read more about Digital Philadelphia in our multimedia package on its impact on the future of Philadelphia's technology ecosystem.
The news could come as a disappointment to the City’s Division of Technology, which led a public and city-wide initiative to plan the proposals since February, pinging community-based organizations, municipal agencies, and members of Philadelphia’s technology community, as covered in our long-form Digital Philadelphia package.
City Chief Technology Officer Allan Frank declined to comment until he hears directly from the state regarding the recommendations.
Fort Washington-based cable television operator Wilco Electronic Systems made the cut with three proposals developed for Philadelphia Housing Authority residents, written with permission from PHA, as we reported. The state supports the private operator’s proposed $21.8 million plans to deploy a fiber network, a $4.7 million project to create public computer centers project and an additional $4.7 million for a sustainable broadband adoption program.
Led by Wilco, the region fared well across the board, owning six of the state’s 25 recommended proposals. Pittsburgh had only two pushed to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, which is expected to begin administering money later this year.
The Delaware County Library System’s modest $300,000 middle mile proposal to connect 11 of its 29 library locations was given a “highly recommended” rating.

Companies: Philadelphia Housing Authority / Wilco Electronic Systems
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