A proposal by Bresnan Communications to build a 1,880-mile fiber optic network to link Montana's seven Indian reservations and serve the points in between, didn't make the cut and won't get any of the $7 billion in federal stimulus funds being tossed out to help service expand high-speed Internet in underserved or unserved areas.
Bresnan's plan had been supported by Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer and opposed by rural telephone co-ops and small telecom firms who said it would duplicate existing networks and hurt their Internet offerings. Bresnan, which is being proffered for sale, backed off applying a second time.
Meanwhile, those other telcos in the state are awaiting word on whether they'll get up to $200 million to fund 20 proposals submitted to the Obama administration. Among those sitting on pins and needles as they await word are rural telephone co-ops or their subsidiaries, a consortium of Indian tribes, other independent companies and telcos Qwest and XO Communications.
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