It’s been nearly a year since Congress set aside $7.2 billion for broadband projects. Today, the officials administering the programs made the first awards for network build-outs. Enterprise Networking Planet reports on how much money the government is sending out the door, who’s getting it, and how soon the rest of the money will be dispersed.
The Obama administration today is announcing the long-anticipated rollout of the first wave of economic stimulus funds to promote broadband projects, pledging that $2 billion in grants and loans will be dispersed over the next 75 days.
Vice President Joe Biden marked the occasion with an address this morning in Dawsonville, Ga., at a manufacturing firm that stands to benefit from a $33 million award for the North Georgia Network Cooperative, a regional ISP serving eight counties in a rural area of the state.
Biden’s initial announcement includes $182 million for 18 projects in 17 states awarded through programs administered by the departments of Commerce and Agriculture. Those projects have been matched by $46 million in private investment, the administration said.
Commerce and Agriculture will award the remainder of the $2 billion on a rolling basis over the next 75 days.
With today’s announcement, the dispersal of the $7.2 billion in total broadband stimulus funding set aside in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act begins in earnest. The agencies overseeing the funds have already doled out modest grants to organizations in 18 states and the District of Columbia for efforts to map broadband coverage, but until today had not committed any money for new network deployments.