Boston Seeking Government Funding For Broadband Stimulus Proposals

City wants $15 million for three programs meant to offer free broadband access to underserved communities

Boston is seeking $15 million in funding from the government for three broadband stimulus proposals it says are meant to "bridge the digital divide" and expand its municipal network from city buildings out into the community, where it hopes to offer free broadband access to "underserved" communities.

The city says it will put up $4.2 million of its own money as well for the three programs: a Boston Broadband Network, a public computing center and a Sustainable Adoption Program.

The deadline was today (Aug. 20) for submitting proposals to the National Telecommunications & Information Administration, which has encouraged local governments to participate. In fact, the governors of each state will get to vet the finalists and their imput will be factored into picking the winners.

“The federal stimulus package affords us a unique opportunity to fund and drive a network to benefit the most financially stressed areas of the city,” said Chief Information Officer Bill Oates in a statement. “Over the last five years, we’ve pursued fiber and wireless solutions for municipal use that have saved taxpayers millions of dollars in leased line access," he said. "Now, we’re ready to aggressively pursue a platform to serve the lowest income areas of Boston with internet connections, increasingly necessary in this digital economy.”