WirelessCos Want $169.6M in Stimulus Bucks. What About Wireline?

[qi:015] KeyOn, a wireless broadband provider in Omaha, Neb., said this morning that it’s applied for $150 million in broadband stimulus funds in order to expand its WiMAX network and cover an additional 4 million people — a cost of $37.50 each. KeyOn, which uses WiMAX and its nationwide license for 3.65GHz spectrum to provide broadband, satellite television service and VoIP calling packages under the brand names SpeedNet and Siris, currently serves 2.5 million people in 11 states.

It’s joined by fellow wireless providers Yonder Media and Leap Wireless (s leap), the operator behind the Cricket brand of prepaid cell phone service, which on Monday filed for $8.6 million in broadband stimulus funding from the National Telecommunications and Information Authority’s program. So where are all the wireline providers?

Yonder, of Reno, Nev., wants to build out 150 3G pre-WiMAX rural wireless broadband networks to serve more than 400 communities over the next five years, for which it’s filed for $11 million of the grant money available under the Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service. A company spokesperson said via email that Yonder expects each network to “produce 3,000-5,000 customers within four years, yielding a minimum combined customer base of 750,000; generating more than $360 million in revenue by 2014.” In other words, each of those 750,000 customers will pay $40 a month for their EVDO access. I’ll get more details when I talk to Yonder, which recently acquired the fixed wireless business of SureWest Communications (s surw), later this week.

The responsibility for distributing the $7.2 billion in overall broadband stimulus funding is split between the USDA and the NTIA, and the disbursement of the money is divided into three tranches. The deadline for the first tranche was Friday for paper filers, and is this Friday at 5 p.m. ET for electronic filers.