Broadband Stimulus Case Study
In making Broadband Stimulus Grant preparations, BBCGi began by asking a few key questions:
- What Census Tracts or Census Block Groups are served?
- Do other applicants' Proposed Funded Service Areas (PFSAs) contain Census Block Groups/Tracts that overlap with the proposed service territory?
- Are there adequate resources to handle the manually intensive process of entering service area maps into the RUS Mapping Tool?
- Was there a need for an experienced partner that can help meet the short window for comments for NTIA, and the separate window for comments for RUS?
For those clients that could not answer "Yes" to all of these questions then Broadband Consulting Group (BBCGi) was uniquely positioned to help with the incumbent response process.
Since 2003, BBCGi has been supporting small, medium and large telecommunications companies with their marketing and competitive research needs. More recently, BBCGi has done extensive work in supporting the RUS and NTIA funding programs including automating input into the RUS Mapping Tool.
BBCGi saw the need for an automated process to input mapping data directly into the RUS Mapping Tool and developed a proprietary application that eliminates the need to manually draw your service area maps. BBCGi's internal map generation tool (dubbed "Map-o-Matic") utilizes latitude and longitude map coordinates for any complex service area (including multiple holes and cutouts) and automatically inputs accurate RUS maps in a matter of minutes, not days.
BBCGi's stimulus funding expertise, proven methodology and automated mapping tools yielded results that were fast, accurate and cost-effective.
The "Map-o-Matic" Process
Step 1: The client provided BBCGi with a service area map or data file (ESRI compliant shape file, CAD, JPG, PDF, or a list of Census Block Groups/Tracts)
Step 2: BBCGi converted the client map into a set of latitude and longitude coordinates for the service area (including any un-served areas within the overall service area that need to be removed).
Step 3: BBCGi then took these coordinates and converted them into Map-o-Matic compatible input files: one for the outer boundary, and additional coordinates for each un-served area that needed to be removed.
Step 4: Once the input files were configured, BBCGi simply loaded the files into the Map-o-Matic application within the RUS Mapping Tool to generate the online service territory maps:
During both Round 1 and Round 2 of the recent Broadband Stimulus awards, BBCGi assisted a number of clients in preparing their funding applications to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) for Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) and Broadband Initiatives Program (BIP) stimulus funding. BBCGi has collected data on over three million households across the country to determine broadband availability, broadband penetration, and competitive providers.
In Round 2, BBCGi adapted its methodologies to meet the specific reporting criteria for both RUS and NTIA applications.
- BBCGi made the necessary determinations of served/unserved/underserved and remote/rural/non-rural for our clients. Our data was leveraged to more effectively define service areas with optimum levels of determinations and subscription rates, as well as to provide the basic data required for completing the applications.
- BBCGi quickly surveyed proposed funded service areas to determine whether a specific Census Block Group (CBG) met the criteria for unserved or underserved, as outlined in both the BTOP and the BIP NOFAs. BBCGi deployed a combination of proprietary network testing and used existing provider knowledge to determine whether a specific CBG or funded service area met the eligibility criteria for RUS or NTIA.
- BBCGi assisted with the construction of maps by CBG, as well as the geographic and demographic descriptions of the proposed funded service areas. BBCGi received city names, lists of ZIP codes, lists of addresses (or other formats as needed) from clients and provided the list of Census Designated Communities (CDCs) and Census Blocks (CBs) required to properly identify proposed funded service areas.
- BBCGi also helped clients understand who would be evaluating the application and how, and provided critical support, as needed, throughout the evaluation process, including providing the necessary data to improve application scores.
BBCGi was successful in over 75% of its stimulus filings. Our clients received more than $500 million in stimulus funding and are currently building out their networks to serve their stated purpose(s).