On July 1, 2009, Vice President Biden announced that under ARRA, $4 billion is available for loans and grants to bring broadband service to un-served and underserved communities. This is the first round of Recovery Act funding released to help bridge the technological divide.
The Recovery Act provided a total of $7.2 billion to go to the USDA Rural Utilities Service (RUS) and to the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to accelerate broadband deployment.
NTIA established the “Broadband Technology Opportunities Program” and will use 4.7 billion of the $7.2 billion to not only provide broadband where it is needed in un-served and underserved communities, but also to expand public computer center capacity and encourage sustainable adoption of the service.
RUS will invest $2.5 billion to deploy broadband to rural communities where it is needed. RUS established the “Broadband Initiatives Program” to extend loans, grants, and loan/grant combinations to facilitate broadband deployment in rural areas.
NTIA and RUS will be accepting applications for loans, grants and loan/grant combinations to be awarded by each agency under a single application form. This collaborative approach will ensure that the agencies activities are complimentary and integrated. This is the first of three rounds of funding that will be provided.
Applications will be accepted from July 14, 2009 until August 14, 2009. For more information, go to www.usda.gov/recovery , www.commerce.gov/recovery, and www.recovery.gov