Rendell was quite prepared for $2.2 million in federal broadband research and planning funds that we reported Thursday.
A spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development tells Technically Philly that the state is already in negotiations with a yet undisclosed vendor to handle the job.
An RFQ issued for the project last fall called for a group to map broadband coverage provided by wireline, cable and wireless networks in the state and to identify key anchor institutions, like schools, hospitals and government buildings.
The information will be made available publicly on what Office of Administration spokesperson Luc Miron says will likely be a “Web portal with a GIS interface with search functionality.” The maps will allow state applicants of future rounds of broadband stimulus funding to improve their pitches.
A smaller portion of the $2.2 million grant will be used to research barriers to broadband adoption why folks may not be taking up or adopting broadband in urban or rural areas, whether related to cost, availability or awareness.
The new mapping data will compliment data already collected by the state in 2004, Miron says, available at Pennylvania’s broadband-focused information portal. Miron works in Rendell’s Office of Information Technology.
“Pennsylvania was one of the first states to enact and pass state legislation to create a broadband data availability repository,” he says.
Now, the state awaits the NTIA to award the first round of funding of $7.2 billion being distributed to improve broadband adoption, which Miron says is running three months behind schedule.
Miron hopes that this, the first federal grant provided to Pennsylvania related to the National Telecommunication and Information Administration’s broadband stimulus funding, will be one of many for the state.
“Shame on all of us if we can only get one grant,” he says.