Monday, January 04, 2010

US broadband policy: $183 Million to expand broadband access in seventeen states

On 17th December Vice President Biden announced an initial $183 million investment in eighteen broadband projects (many of which mention schools alongside other "anchor institutions"), benefiting seventeen states:
"The projects receiving funds today are the first in the $7.2 billion program – $4.7 billion through the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and $2.5 through the Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS) – being implemented under the Recovery Act to expand broadband access and adoption across the country.  The awards are designed to help underserved – and often hard-hit – communities overcome the distance and technology barrier by expanding connectivity between educational institutions, enabling remote medical consultations and attracting new businesses – as well as the jobs that come with them.  They are part of an over $100 billion investment in science, technology and innovation the Administration is making through the Recovery Act to lay a new foundation for economic growth."
At the same time, the National Economic Council released Recovery Act Investment in Broadband: Leveraging Federal Dollars to Create Jobs and Connect America, which found that Recovery Act investments in broadband will "create tens of thousands of jobs in the near term and expand opportunities and economic development in communities that would otherwise be left behind in the new knowledge-based economy".

...which provides an interesting counterpoint to BSG CEO Antony Walker's comments at a recent Westminster e-forum that there is no case for broadband as an interventionist, Keynesian mechanism to stimulate economic recovery. Somebody forgot to tell that to our friends across the pond.

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