Vice President Joe Biden was in Dawsonville, Ga. Thursday to kick off the $7.2 billion broadband grant and loan program funded by the Recovery Act. The program provides $2 billion to be made available on a rolling basis over the next 75 days to bring high-speed Internet to communities that currently have little or no access to the technology. The initial investment is a $183 million investment in eighteen broadband projects benefiting seventeen states which have already been matched by over $46 dollars in public and private sector capital.
The awards are designed to help underserved and often hard-hit communities overcome the distance and technology barrier by expanding connectivity between educational institutions, enabling remote medical consultations and attracting new businesses as well as the jobs that come with them.
In making the announcement, Mr. Biden said new broadband access means more capacity and better reliability in rural areas and underserved urban communities around the country. Businesses will be able to improve their customer service and better compete around the world.
Next Tuesday, Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack will travel to Ohio to discuss how a $2.4 million broadband award will help boost economic development in the region and connect the local community to the smart energy grid.