U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced funding of 126 Recovery Act broadband infrastructure projects aimed at creating jobs and providing rural residents in 38 states and Native American tribal areas improved service.
"The broadband projects announced today will give rural Americans access to the tools they need to attract new businesses, jobs, health care and educational opportunities," Vilsack said.
"The Obama Administration understands that bringing broadband to rural America provides a gateway for businesses and key anchor institutions – such as libraries, schools, public safety and community centers – to provide services to thousands of Americans. These projects will create jobs building these networks, and the completed systems will provide a platform for rural economic growth for years to come."
A total of $1.2 billion will be invested in the 126 broadband infrastructure projects through funding from the Recovery Act. An additional $117 million in private investment will bring the total to $1.3 billion.
By leveraging Recovery Act funding authorized by Congress, USDA has been able to provide loans and grants of $2.65 billion to construct 231 broadband projects in 45 states and one territory. The remaining authorized funds will allow an additional $1 billion in loans and grants by September 30, 2010. The Recovery Act provided USDA with a total of $2.5 billion to invest in expanding broadband access to rural America.