The deadline for Round One for BIP/BTOP applications was late August and was met with an avalanche of applications. The rumor in Washington is that due to this overwhelming popularity there may be only one more round of funding, not a total of three as announced earlier. This puts no small pressure on applicants to get it right in Round Two. Round One posed a serious learning curve for applicants in assessing what federal authorities were looking for in awarding funds. To date, there is no feedback from Washington on applications.
Grant writer Frank Ohrtman, having written three applications totaling almost $30 million, shares his perspectives on building a grant application in this informative report. Mr. Ohrtman addresses the need for “engineering” an application along the following lines: political engineering, technology engineering, and economic engineering. In political engineering, the applicant should ensure that they are meeting the statutory purposes of the ARRA 2009, can demonstrate community support, and have the support of their congressional delegations. Any write up regarding technology should stress why the applicant has selected the best technology for their market and how it delivers the most bandwidth to the most subscribers. Finally, “economic engineering” refers to delivering the most “bang” for the taxpayer “buck” and why the project is sustainable.
Any one considering writing a grant/loan application for Round Two will gain valuable insights as to time and project management in compiling or “engineering” their grant/loan application. The scale of BIP/BTOP is unprecedented and may prove to be for many telecom professionals a once-in-a-career opportunity to get funding for their vision for a cutting edge network for their market and community.
By: Frank Ohrtman, author of “BIP/BTOP Lessons Learned from Round One”
Fred Taylor, Mind Commerce