Project Grant


Grant Description
Purpose: The purpose of the Oregon, NorCal, Nevada Middle Mile Project is to provide a middle mile fiber network (645 miles) that will serve rural areas that currently have inadequate broadband services. The project includes twenty-three (23) access points to provide ready access to the applicant's local ISP partners. The network has been designed to include access points to serve underserved and unserved areas in all three states. In addition to the fiber route, the applicant is also partnering with another service provider to construct middle mile infrastructure in the form of 180-foot towers that can host up to 4 last mile wireless ISPs that will provide fixed and mobile 5G wireless broadband. The cell tower infrastructure enables fixed wireless broadband as well as expanding mobile 5G broadband.

Activities to be performed: The project will use fiber to build a new and resilient middle mile network through unserved and underserved communities with a commitment to open access and carrier-neutral non-discriminatory interconnection. The period of performance is expected to be five years.

Expected outcomes: The project will achieve the following outcomes:
1. 645-mile fiber route connecting Eastern Oregon and Northern California to Reno, NV. The proposed fiber route has been intentionally designed to traverse underserved areas and develop needed network resilience and bandwidth scale that currently does not exist. The tower locations along the proposed route will improve reception and enable both mobile and fixed 5G wireless service.
2. Facilitate connections to 22 anchor institutions near the proposed route, as well as over 100 smaller institutions and 20,000 households.
3. According to the applicant, as a result of the improved broadband infrastructure passing through the proposed service area, end-users will expect to see material improvement in broadband service in terms of end-user pricing and latency.

Intended beneficiaries: According to the applicant, there is a tremendous need for a middle mile fiber network to serve the 14 rural counties impacted by this project. The rural areas to be served under this project have unreliable broadband service where it is available, and the cellular reception and service is very poor. In total, the applicant asserts that more than 20,000 households in Oregon and California and 20 key anchor institutions will potentially benefit from the proposed middle mile fiber network. The percentage of the populations in these counties that fall under the federal poverty rate ranges between 8.1 percent and 19.7 percent. All but one of these counties (Washoe County in Nevada) have access to broadband at a median speed at or less than 25 Mbps down/5 Mbps up. Using feedback from state broadband offices, the applicant has tailored the route design to maximize impact by:
1. Determining optimal access points to communities and anchor institutions along the route, and
2. Coordinating with local ISPs who have earned the trust and recommendations from these broadband offices.

Along the proposed route, there are several federally recognized tribes, including the Pit River Tribe, where there is little to no last mile broadband service. The middle mile route will make broadband service to these tribes possible for the first time. The availability of robust broadband will make possible remote educational opportunities, telemedicine, and reliable public safety communications. The new cell towers that are included in this project will not only expand mobile broadband access but also promote consumer choice, increasing the availability of middle mile infrastructure for wireless ISPs.

Subrecipient activities: The applicant intends to award sub-award funds for the construction of 2, 180-foot cellular towers and cellular compounds.
Place of Performance
Boulder, Colorado 80301-1067 United States
Geographic Scope
Single Zip Code
Related Opportunity
Zayo Group was awarded Project Grant 0840MM216 worth $24,059,784 from the National Institute of Standards and Technology in July 2023. The grant has a duration of 3 years and was awarded through assistance program 11.033 Middle Mile (Broadband) Grant Program. $24,059,784 (50.0%) of this Project Grant was funded by non-federal sources.


Last Modified 6/21/23

Period of Performance
Start Date
End Date
8.0% Complete

Funding Split
Federal Obligation
Non-Federal Obligation
Total Obligated
50.0% Federal Funding
50.0% Non-Federal Funding

Activity Timeline

Additional Detail

SAI Number
Award ID URI
Awardee Classifications
For-Profit Organization (Other Than Small Business)
Awarding Office
Funding Office
Performance District
Michael Bennet
John Hickenlooper
Joe Neguse
Modified: 6/21/23