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Agricultural News

Broadband Money Shoveled Out By Obama Administration

Fri, 02 Jul 2010 12:27:39 CDT

Broadband Money Shoveled Out By Obama Administration Today President Obama, Agriculture Secretary Vilsack and Commerce Secretary Locke announced investment in sixty-six new Recovery Act broadband projects nationwide, 37 in rural America that, according to the grantees, will not only directly create over 5,000 jobs up front, but also help spur economic development in some of the nation's hardest-hit communities, creating jobs for years to come. In total, tens of millions of Americans and over 685,000 businesses, 900 healthcare facilities and 2,400 schools in all fifty states stand to benefit from the awards. The $780 million in grants and loans through the Departments of Commerce and Agriculture have been matched by over $200 million in outside investment, for a total public-private investment of nearly $1 billion in bringing broadband service to these communities, which currently have little or no access, to help them better compete and do business in the global marketplace.

"The broadband projects announced today will give rural communities access to the tools they need to create jobs, stimulate local economies, and build a foundation for future prosperity," said Vilsack.

Today's announcement begins the U.S. Department of Agriculture's second round of broadband funding announcements through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act). In all, $390.9 million will be invested in 37 projects through funding made available by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. An additional $21.9 millionin private investment will be provided, bringing the total funds invested to $412.7 million. To date, $1.458 billion has been awarded to construct 105 broadband projects in 37 states and one territory.

According to analysis released by the National Economic Council last year, overall Recovery Act investments in broadband are expected to create tens of thousands of jobs in the near term and expand economic development and job opportunities in communities that would otherwise be left behind in the new knowledge-based economy. Recovery Act broadband projects help bring down the cost of private investment, attract Internet service providers to new areas, improve digital literacy among students and workers, and help create new opportunities in employment, education, and entrepreneurship by wiring homes and businesses. With new or increased broadband access, communities can compete on a level playing field to attract new businesses, schools can create distance learning opportunities, medical professionals can provide cost-efficient remote diagnoses and care, and business owners can expand the market for their products beyond their neighborhoods to better compete in the global economy.

Three projects are being funded in Oklahoma:

Pine Telephone Company, Inc.; Last Mile ILEC Fiber-to-the-Home for Isolated Rural Southeastern Oklahoma/Choctaw Nation: a $15,081,959 loan and $15,081,958 grant. The funding will provide a hybrid network including a fiber-to-the-home and fiber-to-the-node solution for Pine Telephone Company's existing service area. In addition to enabling data rates of up to 40 Mbps, the network will enable video delivery via affiliate head-end facilities. Wireless microwave backhaul is proposed in some extremely rugged portions of the network.

Oklahoma City University: This $1.4 million grant with an additional $747,000 applicant-provided match will expand broadband computer access options for the economically vulnerable community in which the university is located. The project will open two computer centers with almost 90 workstations to the general public and deploy a "mobile PCC" van with 20 laptops to serve the community at large.

Oklahoma Department of Libraries: This $2.3 million grant with an additional $1 million applicant-provided match will upgrade public computer centers at 45 libraries in 44 counties across the state to better equip them to meet local community needs.

Click here for the full list of all projects from around the US that are getting either grants or loans for Broadband work.



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