NTIA Visits Its BTOP Recipients

Tue, March 1, 2011 by Anthony Wilhelm, Associate Administrator of NTIA’s Office of Telecommunications and Information Applications
Anthony Wilhelm, Associate Administrator of NTIA’s Office of Telecommunications and Information Applications

Starting this week, federal program staff from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) will begin post-award site visits to get a first-hand perspective on project progress and oversee grant recipients of the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP), a portfolio that approaches $4 billion in federal infrastructure investments. As a core component of the Program’s comprehensive monitoring strategy, these comprehensive visits will allow us to evaluate grant recipients' performance in meeting milestones and complying with grant terms and conditions.

NTIA uses a variety of tools to monitor grantee progress, including regular conference calls, detailed review of quarterly reports, and careful tracking of the expenditure of federal funds. Site visits are a critically important tool to corroborate information provided in written reports and to inspect equipment paid for by the federal government.

Our program staff will be digging deeper on the site visits and, like any good stewards of funds, will be focusing on the core areas of program performance:

(1) Project management - Is the project on time and meeting milestones?

(2) Financial management - Is the project on budget?

(3) Grants management - Are grant recipients and subrecipients meeting all relevant federal requirements?

At the conclusion of each site visit, NTIA will follow up with grantees to discuss any areas of concern and map out next steps including whatever customized technical assistance may be appropriate to keep projects on track. As necessary, we may also describe corrective actions to be taken by the recipient based on observations and conclusions drawn from the site visit.

NTIA takes its oversight responsibilities very seriously and will work closely with our grant recipients to ensure these critical investments bring benefits to the American people.

For more information about these site visits or NTIA's monitoring approach for BTOP grants, please see:

Trying to get a faster service than dial up

It is sad because we live in a rural area, we can't get anything faster than dial up that is reasonable in price. HughesNet is serving our area but is very costly. They have NO competition and for those of us on a fixed income, it gets to be quite costly. I live 2.5 miles from broadband in one direction and 8 miles from broadband in the other direction. We have contacted the cable company with no luck and also the telephone company with the same results. I even contacted my local representative in hopes of getting something. The recovery act gave a break to 'farmers' and there are some of those that aren't even 'farmers'. What about us? We are being put in a position where we HAVE to use the internet and it is very difficult under these terms. Hopefully, you can continue to see your way in getting us in the rural community some much needed help. (We aren't farmers, but we have to use the internet like they do). Give our country some competition that will get the prices lower and we can get the speed we need. Thank you. Patricia Patten at jppatten@aol.com

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