This memorandum provides analysis, strategic guidance, and policy concerns and recommendations with regard to the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).
This memorandum includes:
1. A summary of the latest developments in the BTOP and how they will impact many would-be applicants;
2. Strategic recommendations for activities to undertake to maximize the chances of being funded;
3. Precautionary and protective steps to take during the application preparation process;
4. Discussion of policy concerns about how the BTOP is being implemented and why it does not, in many ways, live up to the promise established by the ARRA; and,
5. Policy recommendations for incremental, strategic changes by NTIA that could improve the program as implemented.\
An in-depth overview of minimum and recommended application requirements for the RUS Broadband Initiatives Program and NTIA's Broadband Technology Opportunities Program follows in the attached PDF.
 ARRA includes two categories of broadband funding: (1) $2.5 billion for the Broadband Initiatives Program (BIP); and (2) $4.7 billion for BTOP. This memorandum focuses on BTOP. Attached to this memorandum is a summary of the July 1 Notice of Funds Availability (NOFA) for both BTOP and the BIP program, which is to be administered by the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) of the Department of Agriculture. That summary contains extensive logistical information that is not addressed herein, including filing deadlines and mechanisms, requirements, and scoring criteria.