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Lessons Learned From Round One of Bip and Btop Grant and Loan Applications

Grant writers should focus on interweaving the disciplines of politics, engineering and economics to build a balanced and convincing application. Applicants are also cautioned to ensure all elements of their application cross check in terms of financial, subscriber and build-out projections. Federal authorities estimate the application requires 111 hours to compile, however, a successfully detailed application might require more time.

Those considering applying for grants or loans in Round Two should not wait for Notice of Funds Availability (NOFA) to be released. Some of the most time-consuming elements of the grant application (Attachments C and G, for example) can be started at any time and attention to detail here provides a foundation for rest of the application process. This report also warns of administrative details that should not be put off to the last minute thus causing a failure to make the application deadline.

Key Issues and Findings:

- Indications are that there will be only one more round of BIP/BTOP applications

- The primary lesson communicated is the need for time management and an interdisciplinary focus in constructing the grant application

- The BIP and BTOP programs are unprecedented and may prove to be a once-in-a-career opportunity for many telecommunications professionals

- Readers will find this report invaluable in planning their BIP/BTOP application strategy

Target Audience:

- Grant writers and their investors

- States and municipalities apply for BIP/BTOP funds

- Any one considering applying for a BIP/BTOP grant or loan

- Service providers requiring support for their grant writing strategy

- Vendors supporting their customers to obtain grant funds for purchase of their products
Executive Summary Building Blocks: Interdisciplinary Mix
Political Engineering
Technological Engineering
Economic Engineering
Sales and Marketing Engineering
Synergy: it all has to match
Political Engineering 101
Question 8: Executive Summary
Questions 9 and 10: Read the ARRA 2009 first, then ask:
Political Engineering Checklist
Technology Engineering
Question 29: Describe your Last Mile and Middle Mile in 3 Pages or Less
Attachment D: Got Professional Engineer licensed by your state to approve network design?
Attachment E: Project Deployment Timeline Milestones
Economic Engineering aka Engineering Economics
Question 26: What is your cost per household reached?
Question 27: Affordability? Can the people you intend to serve afford your services?
Question 46: How "reasonable" are your costs (to the taxpayers)?
Attachment A: Your Product Pricing + QoS?
Attachment G: What does all this cost and what's the justification ("is it reasonable")?
Attachments H, I, J: Subscriber Projections or "How will you fill those "pipes"?
Attachment H: Broadband Services Subscribers
Attachments K, L, M: Financials/Financial Projections
Attachment C: Competitor's Offerings
Loans vs. Grants and In-kind Contributions
Sales and Marketing Engineering
Broadband Awareness Grants
Public Computing Centers
Think compliance
Why you need to start NOW
Summary: Who Is Most Likely to Succeed?
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