WASHINGTON, June 22, 2010 – The United States Department of Agriculture convened a workshop today for recipients of the Broadband Initiative Program (BIP), economic development experts, and USDA officials in Dallas last week. The workshop was keynoted by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who made arguments suggesting that the Initiative Program would improve health care, education and increased economic opportunities in rural areas.
The Dallas workshop will be the first of two such events being offered to recipients of Federal grant money under the BIP. A second workshop will take place from June 23-24 in Chicago, IL. The workshops are designed to inform the recipients about their responsibilities as local providers, including requirements associated with reporting and compliance. The workshop also featured advice and outreach by representatives of major Broadband suppliers, as well as other experts on economic development.
According to a press statement by the Department of Agriculture, “The workshops were designed to provide information on the various aspects of deploying broadband from construction, to contracting and labor, to accounting and compliance. These workshops are a critical step in maximizing the investments through the ARRA Broadband Initiatives Program and to enhance the overall economic development efforts within rural communities.”
The DoA has plans to expand the BIP program in the future, though these plans have yet to be released to the public.