Home > Broadband > NTIA approves $795 Million for Broadband Stimulus

NTIA approves $795 Million for Broadband Stimulus

U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration will announce nearly $795 million in grants and loans for broadband deployment projects across the nation on Friday, officials with two federal agencies said.

The U.S. National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and the U.S. Rural Utilities Service (RUS) will officially announce awards for 66 new broadband projects that will touch all 50 states, Obama administration officials said. The money, from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act passed by the U.S. Congress in early 2009, is expected to create or save about 5,000 jobs, officials said.

The new awards will enable farmers to better track crop prices, enable rural health-centers to offer telemedicine services, and allow schools to provide distance learning services, added Tom Vilsack, secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the parent agency of the RUS. “It will also allow us to keep the United States at the center of innovation, and keep the companies that are located in rural America competitive, creating more opportunity and new jobs,” he said.

In the Recovery Act, Congress allocated $7.2 billion to the NTIA and RUS for broadband grants and loans. The NTIA will award $404 million to 29 projects Friday, and the grants will finance 6,000 miles of new fiber-optic lines, Locke said. Most of the money will finance middle-mile broadband network projects.

The NTIA has previously awarded $1.6 billion in broadband grants.

The RUS will award $390.9 million on Friday, with $163 million in loans and the rest in grants. The RUS has previously awarded $1.4 billion in Recovery Act funds to broadband projects. Most of the RUS money is focused on last-mile broadband projects.

Private investment of more than $200 million will help fund the projects announced Friday, the officials said.

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