Obama moves to boost U.S. broadband access

The Obama administration released details on Thursday of a USD 2bn program in grants and loans to help dramatically expand Americans’ broadband Internet access and create tens of thousands of jobs. The funds, to be released over the next 75 days, are among USD 7.2bn set aside in President Barack Obama’s USD 787bn economic recovery package to bring broadband access to unserved or underserved U.S. communities. Vice President Joe Biden, at an event in Dawsonville, Georgia, announced details of an initial USD 183m investment in broadband projects in 17 states. Nearly two-thirds of Americans have adopted broadband at home, while one-third have access but have not adopted it, and 4 percent say they have no access where they live, according to the Federal Communications Commission. Officials said on Thursday that broadband expansion projects aimed to link communities to the “Internet backbone,” a network of large, high-bandwidth fiber-optic cables that span the country. They said the grants and loans, being released by the departments of Commerce and Agriculture, would help expand broadband for education, healthcare and providing workers the flexibility to work from home.

http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE5BG1JZ20091217

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