Friday, December 18, 2009

White House To Unveil Loans To Bring Broadband To Rural Areas

According to, the White House announced a new plan to issues $182 million in grants and loans to bring broadband access to rural areas across the country. The Obama administration claims the move will expand education and communication across the county, as well as create thousands of jobs. Over the next two and a half months the White House is expected to award over $2 billion in broadband awards.

The loans, part of a broader $7.2 billion Recovery Act program, are designed to create jobs and spur economic development, the White House's top economic priority. Vice President Joe Biden will announce the first investments later Thursday at Impulse Manufacturing in Dawsonville, Georgia, a community that will benefit from the program.

The initial $182 million in funds will go toward 18 broadband projects in 17 states, and has been matched by more than $46 million in private capital. Administration officials declined to break down which states or companies would receive the initial funds, saying details would be available later Thursday.

Jared Bernstein, Biden's top economic adviser, said the initiative would " support tens of thousands" of jobs, initially for specialists connecting the networks and workers building towers and other infrastructure. Eventually, he said, jobs would be created indirectly as the new technology allows companies to expand and communities to attract new businesses.

"When you get right down to it, this is about jobs," Bernstein said. However, he said he couldn't provide any precise forecasts on the initiative's job- creating potential.

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