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Biden’s Broadband Stimulus Announcement Mobilizes Lawmakers

WASHINGTON, December 17, 2009 – A number of Democratic lawmakers jumped on the broadband bandwagon Thursday to support the use of federal money to encourage adoption of the technology, while one Republican was quick to criticize the Obama Administration for excessive government spending.




WASHINGTON, December 17, 2009 – A number of Democratic lawmakers jumped on the broadband bandwagon Thursday to support the use of federal money to encourage adoption of the technology, while one Republican was quick to criticize the Obama Administration for excessive government spending.

“Today, the promise of the [Broadband Technology Opportunities Program] begins to be realized,” said Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation Chairman John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV in a statement. “These first grants represent an important, initial step towards stimulating job creation as well as expanding consumers’ access to and adoption of broadband. For those in rural areas and low-income households, broadband provides educational, healthcare, and employment opportunities that may not otherwise be available.”

Rockefeller, whose committee held a hearing in October to examine oversight of the broadband stimulus programs, was responding to an announcement by Vice President Joe Biden naming the first grant recipients of the $7.2 billion Congress allocated in January for national broadband investments. The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration and Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service were charged with distributing the funds but faced delays due to the magnitude of the task and the number of applications they received.

Senators John Kerry, D-Mass., and Paul Kirk, D-Mass., and Congressmen Edward Markey, D-Mass., Michael Capuano, D-Mass., and Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., gathered with Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino gathered Thursday to discuss the importance of the broadband grant their state is getting. “In Boston, 80 percent of public school kids have no broadband service at home in large part because their parents cannot afford it, and that’s why we pushed like hell to invest in broadband deployment through the stimulus bill,” said Kerry in a statement. “While we will continue to push for the agencies to move the money quickly and give all Massachusetts applicants a fair hearing, I am extremely pleased to see that stimulus funds are now flowing.”

“This is one way of reducing the much higher unemployment rate among minority and underserved communities,” added Lynch.

Members of the New Mexico Congressional Delegation were also encouraged to see their state on the list to receive grant money.

"Internet access is no longer a luxury, it's an important part of our everyday lives. We must work to ensure that all parts of our state have Internet access so that students and businesses alike have the tools they need to succeed," said Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., in a statement. "By making Internet access available to the public, our state's libraries are providing an extremely important service. This grant will help them reach out to even more New Mexicans."

Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., a member of the Senate Commerce Committee, said "Bridging the digital divide for rural residents and diverse communities is key to spurring small business growth and expanding educational opportunities in our state.” Rep. Harry Teague, D-N.M., added that "Rural and tribal communities are often left behind in the technology innovation race. By introducing these communities to broadband technology, not only can we increase educational opportunities, but we can also boost our small businesses and local economies.”

Reps. Ben Ray Luján, D-N.M., and Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., also spoke to the importance of public access to broadband.

Meanwhile, Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., was not thrilled with Biden’s broadband stimulus announcement in his home state. “Mr. Biden is quick to publicize the buckets of borrowed cash he’s handing out today … But will he look Georgians in the eye on Tax Day when they are forced to pick up the tab? If expansion of broadband is a priority of the federal government, then it should be reflected that way in our budget rather than tossed on the growing pile of national debt,” said Price.

“This administration is on an epic spending binge that is going to result in one serious fiscal hangover. Joe Biden would have us believe he is Santa Claus today, but he’ll look like the Grinch who stole Christmas when the stimulus bill comes due,” Price continued.

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  1. Avatar

    Winter Casey

    December 17, 2009 at 7:55 pm

    Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Statement on the Obama Administration’s Announcement of Broadband Investments:

    Over the last decade, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has worked with public libraries across the country to provide Americans with free, reliable access to computers and the Internet. Millions of people rely on this access to do research projects for school and work, find a job, get government information, and keep in touch with family and friends.

    With Vice President Joe Biden’s announcement today of the initial broadband grant awards funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the administration and Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) will help many more Americans access online economic, educational, and social opportunities.

    We commend the NTIA for recognizing the importance of universal access to high-capacity broadband Internet connections and the important role public libraries and other community anchor institutions play in providing this access. The administration’s investments in community anchor institutions represent the highest and best use of public funds and are critical to creating universal broadband access for all Americans.

    We are committed to working with the NTIA and public libraries to connect all people with opportunities and knowledge and enable them to lead productive lives.

  2. Avatar

    Stephan Larose

    December 17, 2009 at 8:42 pm

    Hmm, if the U.S.A. gets universal broadband they’ll finally catch up to where Sweden was 10 years ago! Of course, there’ll be huge opposition to spending to increase the lot of average Joe Citizen. In U.S.A. you can spend 15 trillion dollars in an all-socialist rescue of the wealthiest, most corrupt citizens and enterprises in the nation, but you can’t spend a couple billion keeping people in their homes, giving them access to internet so they can educated themselves, or grant universal access for some other basic human need. Nope. In the U.S. media, socialism for the rich is always a “sound investment” to “keep jobs” and “retain talent” but socialism for the rest (majority) is met with gnashing teeth and angry cries of “socialism” which the rich so apparently love. That’s why the rest of the developed world is more socialist than you U.S.A., you’re really just too stupid to understand the contradiction, and will probably never understand, even once you’ve been relegated to 3rd world status.

  3. Avatar

    leopold zoborowski

    December 17, 2009 at 9:28 pm

    Things are sort of tense out there this Christmas. People don’t have jobs or cash flow.

    Most of the stimulus has been road resurfacing and cutting down trees along the side of the road. Too bad the trees had to suffer so. They need more meaty and creative stimulus programs and they need them quickly.

    Computers to Okies in The Smokies are a good thing but the lasting realization on the investment is too far in the future to make it effective stimulus. It is more like a Paladian Vision of Utopia with a computer in every Cabin.

    What we really need is if everyone would be earnest about this Change business.

    The Oil & Energy Lobbies have got to stop stalling Tough Clean & Renewable Energy Legislation. for instance, If they put a ‘Made In America’ Solar Panel on the top of every telephone pole in America, then you’d really have CHANGED something.

    What the NAFTA people fail to realize is that our Industries gave our communities identity, pride and unity. We have to encourage Industries involved in massive projects like high speed trains and ocean wave energy. But. like Health Care, this will probably be gummed-up by special interests that fear that great positive CHANGE will eliminate profits.

    I fear that the Obama/Biden motto is now “Change, but not too much.”

    Out on Main Street this has been a hard, hard year. How is it going to get better? We need to think hard because we are at a valuable attrition point where many in this economy are engaged and “at risk” enough to truly work great Change.

    Good Luck to Us All. (And may the uncontrollably wealthy grow a conscience this coming year.)

  4. Avatar

    Beatrice Hastings

    December 17, 2009 at 10:20 pm

    May God Bless the Bill and Melinda Gates and their Foundation for their vibrant, vital work.

    And, From The New Year’s Resolutions and Consciences Department . . .

    May we also find a way to help keep The Barnes Foundation and School in Merion, Pennsylvania.

    Please ask your senator of congressperson to use their power and might to please, please Stop The Annenberg & Pew Trust Proposal to Gut The National Cultural Landmark Barnes Foundation and to Move its Art to Philadelphia. See the documentary “The Art of The Steal” or or

  5. Avatar


    December 17, 2009 at 11:52 pm

    Another area, specifically, that the expansion of broadband into rural areas will help is one that, even though there are now thousands if not hundreds of thousands of individuals involved in it and it is an industry which sees many more people joining in everyday, during the course of one’s day, hardly anyone ever knows really what you are talking about if the subject is brought up, this area being online marketing. Sure, there might be lots of small businesses that have websites up, but rarely do these sites become optimized, nor do the site owners generally have a clue how to get traffic to their sites.

    Yesiree Bob’s your uncle, this broadband expansion is going to be very good for the online marketing and training industry.

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