Ellen Perlman was a GOVERNING staff writer and technology columnist.E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Finally, $4 billion dollars in loans and grants will be available for expanding broadband access in underserved and un-served areas, Vice President Joe Biden announced Wednesday. It's the first of three rounds of Recovery Act funding for broadband and the administration expects the funds not only will decrease the technological divide but also create jobs building out the infrastructure.
"This funding is a downpayment on the President's commitment to bring the educational and economic benefits of the Internet to all communities," Biden said in a statement.
Applications will be accepted starting July 14 and through August 14.
The Recovery Act allocated $7.2 billion total and the administration hopes this first round will create jobs, inspire additional investment and create "model" projects that "can better inform our national broadband stategy," according to Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, former Washington governor.
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (U.S. Commerce Department) and the Rural Utilities Service (U.S. Agriculture Department) will accept a single applications form for loans, grants and loan/grant combinations, making it easier to apply for funding.
Commerce and USDA will host public, informational workshops on the funding and the application process this month in Albuquerque, N.M.; Billings, Mont.; Birmingham, Ala.; Boston; Charleston, W.Va.; Lonoke, Ark.; Los Angeles; Memphis, Tenn.; and Minneapolis.
More information at: http://broadbandusa.gov
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