Ninety-fourInternet projects will receive federal grants to expand broadband services in their communities through a program administered by the Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration and the Department of Agriculture's Rural Utilities Service. The $1.8 billion of program funding is part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).
Much of the funding is going to private companies, but there also are several local government projects receiving the grants or awards.
- The District of Columbia will receive approximately $4.2 million for its DC-BETA project, which aims to provide broadband-related outreach, digital literacy courses, workforce skills training, refurbished computers, and home broadband in low-income neighborhoods.
- Tallahassee, Fla., will receive $1.2 million to use broadband technology to enhance workforce skills, educational opportunities, and digital literacy among low-income, low-literacy residents in economically depressed, underserved areas of the city. The project also will provide an online broadband accessibility curriculum for K-12 students to develop digital literacy and other skills.
- The Tampa, Fla., Housing Authority will receive approximately $2.1 million to encourage broadband subscribership and awareness within 23 public sites with economically disadvantaged residents. The project will serve 17 community institutions and offer skills and job training classes to residents.
- The Municipal Communications Utility of Cedar Falls, Iowa, will receive approximately $873,000, matched by an equal amount in private contributions, to offer broadband service speeds of up to 50 Mbps in three rural counties.
When announcing the grants on Wednesday, Vice President Joe Biden said the broadband projects would create jobs and expand economic opportunities within 37 states. "In addition to bringing 21st century infrastructure to underserved communities and rural areas, these investments will begin to harness the power of broadband to improve education, health care, and," Biden said.