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Commerce, Agriculture Departments Announce $1.8 Billion in New Broadband Grants

in Broadband Updates/Broadband's Impact/NTIA/Public Safety/Recovery Act/Rural Utilities Service/States by

WASHINGTON, August 18, 2010 - The departments of Agriculture and Commerce announced a new set of broadband grants totaling $1.8 billion across 37 states.

The 94 projects announced include the first satellite projects under this grant system.

• Spacenet will receive $7 million to provide rural access subcribers in Alaska and Hawaii;

• Echostar’s project, $14 million, will span much of the eastern and midwestern parts of the nation. It is expected to benefit 42,478 people stand and roughly 1,888 businesses;

• Wild Blue received $20 million to cover the western part of the nation along with the Midwest; and

• The Hughes Net project received the most funds at $59 million. It will help support a nationwide network;

"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," Secretary of Agriculture Tom 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."

The Commerce Department grants focused on wireless public safety networks. The five projects will receive $220 million. The largest of which, $70 million, was given to the state of Mississippi to create a new statewide network for first responders.

"Today's investment in broadband technology will create jobs across the country and expand opportunities for millions of Americans and American companies. In addition to bringing 21st century infrastructure to underserved communities and rural areas, these investments will begin to harness the power of broadband to improve education, health care, and public safety," said Vice President Joe Biden.

A full list of the grant winners can be found here.

Rahul Gaitonde has been writing for since the fall of 2009, and in May of 2010 he became Deputy Editor. He was a fellow at George Mason University’s Long Term Governance Project, a researcher at the International Center for Applied Studies in Information Technology and worked at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration. He holds a Masters of Public Policy from George Mason University, where his research focused on the economic and social benefits of broadband expansion. He has written extensively about Universal Service Fund reform, the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program and the Broadband Data Improvement Act

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