Surfnet Communications Makes Ambitious $3.3 Million Bid for NTIA Grant
Surfnet Communications proudly declares its bid of $3.3 million for the Middle-Mile Broadband grant offered by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) as part of the $1 billion Enabling Middle-Mile Broadband Infrastructure program.
Typically, the program awards primary grants that range from $5 million to $100 million. Although Surfnet’s bid of $3.3 million falls below this range, it serves as a testament to the company’s unwavering confidence in its proposed project and commitment to enhancing last-mile broadband connectivity in the underserved regions of the central California Coastal regions.
The middle-mile NOFO issued by the NTIA emphasizes the importance of reliable, affordable, high-speed broadband. Applicants must undergo a rigorous “merit review” process that evaluates the project’s purpose, benefits, and sustainability.
Furthermore, the IIJA defines an “unserved” household as a location incapable of receiving broadband internet access at speeds of 25 Megabits per second (Mbps) download and 3 Mbps upload. The act also introduces the concept of “underserved” households, which lack access to broadband at speeds of 100 Mbps download and 20 Mbps upload.
If granted, Surfnet’s project will be able to provide high-speed, low-cost, and reliable broadband to underserved households within the social justice communities that currently lack access to broadband at speeds of 100 Mbps download and 20 Mbps upload.
To qualify for the middle-mile grant, Surfnet must commit to completing the infrastructure buildout within a five-year timeframe, with a possible one-year extension in specific circumstances. The project must meet milestone benchmarks along the way to ensure steady progress toward completion. Additionally, the middle-mile awards are limited to 70 percent of the total project cost, emphasizing the significance of cost sharing.
While the outcome of Surfnet’s bid remains unknown, their ambitious approach showcases their dedication to utilizing the grant to bridge the digital divide, establish a safer and more resilient infrastructure system, and address rural and socioeconomic areas’ unique needs and challenges.