[Libs-Or] Fwd: [District Dispatch] ALA Washington Office: First-round rules for broadband stimulus program hinder libraries

Diedre Conkling diedre08 at gmail.com
Mon Jul 27 21:17:47 PDT 2009

 ALA Washington Office: First-round rules for broadband stimulus program
hinder libraries <http://www.wo.ala.org/districtdispatch/?p=3377> July 27th,
2009 | Category: Technology, the Internet, and

Contact: Jenni Terry <jterry at alawash.org>
For Immediate Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The American Library Association Washington sent a letter
to Assistant Secretary of Commerce Larry Strickling Friday stating that the
first-round Notice of Funds Availability (NOFA) to implement the Broadband
Technologies Opportunities Program (BTOP) raises significant concerns and
creates hurdles for libraries considering applying for broadband funding.

According to the ALA, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA)
gives libraries, as anchor institutions, priority, but the NOFA in effect
de-prioritizes libraries and discourages them from applying for funding in a
number of ways.

The application of the unserved and underserved limitations to libraries
essentially disqualifies a significant proportion from applying for
broadband infrastructure funds.  Libraries located in urban and suburban
communities will be unduly penalized even though they are well-positioned to
provide Internet access via broadband connectivity to everyone in their

While the ALA regards the ARRA as an invaluable opportunity to build out
high-speed, future-proof connectivity (such as fiber-optic technology) to
all public libraries in the country, the NOFA raises considerable barriers
to the realization of this vision.  Specifically, the NOFA discourages the
promotion and prioritization of high-speed connectivity by adopting a single
definition of broadband (768 kbps download) that is simply inadequate for
libraries – now and in the future. In addition, investment in high-speed
connectivity (such as fiber and other technologies), is not favorably
supported by the NOFA’s current scoring system.

The library community is hopeful that subsequent NOFA funding opportunities
will take into consideration this contradiction in the ARRA’s intent and the
NOFA’s application.

“Inclusion of libraries in the build-out of the broadband infrastructure
will contribute towards a more cohesive and efficient network infrastructure
for America’s communities and help ensure that high-speed broadband will
reach the greatest percentage of the population,” Emily Sheketoff, executive
director of the ALA Washington Office, states in the letter.

The ALA’s letter to Strickling can be viewed


Diedre Conkling
Lincoln County Library District
P.O. Box 2027
Newport, OR  97365
Work phone & fax:  541-265-3066
Work email:  diedre at beachbooks.org
Home email:  diedre08 at gmail.com
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