WiMAX operator Towerstream hopes to cash in on some of the $7.2 billion in broadband stimulus loans the federal government has earmarked for broadband deployments in unserved and underserved areas.
Last week, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), along with the Rural Utilities Service (RUS), revealed their grant guidelines for the stimulus money. Applicants can apply for the first round of funds ($4 billion) from July 14 to Aug. 14 with money starting to flow in September.
While the agencies are defining broadband as speeds of at least 768 kbps downstream and 200 kbps upstream for end users, applicants that propose to deploy faster speeds are given preference over those choosing to deploy services with the minimum speed. The theory is that enough companies will compete with one another so that the fastest technology that is economically feasible will prevail. And Towerstream believes that situation will benefit the company given the fact that the company is attacking the market with mobile WiMAX networks.
Towerstream's current business model involves targeting small and mid-sized businesses in rather large markets like New York, Chicago, Boston and Los Angeles. Towerstream CEO Jeff Thompson told Wireless Week that most of the jobs in the US are created by small business, and Towerstream can assist them in becoming more productive by providing wireless broadband services. He also said he is encouraged by the fact that the aggressive timeline of the funds means companies that have experience will likely be given priority.
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