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Secretary Locke Announces Recovery Act Investments To Expand Broadband Internet Access And Spur Economic Growth

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, September 27, 2010
CONTACT OFFICE OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS
202-482-4883

Announcement Completes Broadband Stimulus Awards

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke today announced 14 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act investments to help bridge the technological divide, create jobs, and improve education and public safety in communities across the country. The investments, totaling $206.8 million in grants, are the final awards in a program to increase broadband Internet access and adoption, enhancing the quality of life for Americans and laying the groundwork for sustainable economic growth.

“In a globalized 21st century economy, when you don’t have regular access to high-speed Internet, you don’t have access to all the educational, business and employment opportunities it provides,” Locke said. “These critical Recovery Act investments will create jobs and lay the groundwork for long-term sustainable economic growth in communities across America.”

“In total, we are investing in 233 strong projects that reach every state. Most are ‘middle mile’ networks that expand high-speed Internet availability to communities and connect key institutions, such as schools, libraries, and hospitals. This focus allows us to get the biggest bang for every grant dollar by addressing communities’ broadband problems while creating jobs and facilitating sustainable economic growth,” Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information and NTIA Administrator Lawrence E. Strickling said.  “We are also investing in public computer centers and training to help more Americans compete better in today’s workforce.”

The Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and the Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service are administering a nearly $7 billion Recovery Act initiative to expand access to and adoption of broadband services. NTIA is utilizing approximately $4 billion of that funding for the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP), which provides grants to support the deployment of broadband infrastructure, enhance and expand public computer centers, and encourage sustainable adoption of broadband service.

Based on estimates provided by grant recipients, the 233 BTOP projects will: 

  • Fund the installation or upgrade of approximately 120,000 miles of broadband networks, including fiber-optics, wireless, microwave, and other technologies.  Of this amount, approximately 70,000 miles involve construction of new broadband facilities.
  • Provide broadband access to approximately 24,000 community anchor institutions, including schools, libraries, government offices, health care facilities, and public safety entities.  Of these, approximately:
    • 3,000 are healthcare entities, including hospitals, clinics, and physicians’ offices
    • 5,000 are public safety entities, such as first responders, fire, police, and EMS
    • 7,000 are K-12 schools
    • 600 are community colleges
    • 2,000 are libraries
    • 5,000 are government facilities, such as City and County offices, workforce centers, Head Start locations, and other entities providing important benefits to the public
    • 700 are other institutions of higher education, including public universities
  • Deploy middle mile infrastructure in areas with nearly 40 million households and 4 million businesses, many of which will benefit from new or improved broadband service provided by last-mile providers that are able to utilize the new, open infrastructure to extend or upgrade their service for consumer and business customers.
  • Invest in more than 3,500 new or upgraded public computer centers in libraries, schools, community centers and other public locations.
  • Invest in more than 35,000 new or upgraded public computer workstations.
  • Make public computer center workstations and training available to more than 1 million new users.

These anticipated benefits will be realized over the life of each project, which must be substantially complete within two years and fully complete within three years.

According to analysis released by the National Economic Council last year, overall Recovery Act investments in broadband are expected to create tens of thousands of jobs in the near term and expand economic development and job opportunities in communities that would otherwise be left behind in the new knowledge-based economy. 

“NTIA’s work is far from over,” Strickling added. “We will be overseeing these projects to ensure they are completed on schedule and within budget, and deliver the promised benefits to the communities they serve.”

The following are the BTOP grants announced today:

Comprehensive Community Infrastructure awards:

California: Los Angeles Regional Interoperable Communications Systems Authority. This $154.6 million grant will fund deployment of an interoperable wireless public safety broadband network across Los Angeles County to serve more than 80 public safety agencies and up to 34,000 first responders. The network will enable computer-aided dispatch, rapid law enforcement queries, real-time video streaming, medical telemetry and patient tracking, and other uses.

Colorado: Adams County Communications Center, Inc. This $12.1 million grant will fund deployment of an interoperable wireless public safety broadband network in an area that includes Adams County and the Denver International Airport to serve more than 20 public safety agencies and up to 2,000 first responders. The project will enable uses such as HAZMAT database query and records access, criminal checks, airport perimeter security, and emergency runway clearance.

Public Computer Center awards:

California: Monterey County Office of Education. This $3.6 million grant will fund approximately three new and 26 upgraded public computer centers, and 500 new or upgraded workstations, to serve up to an additional 5,000 users each week and provide training for as many as 10,000 residents.

Colorado: Colorado Board of Education. This $2.3 million grant will fund approximately six new and 70 upgraded public computer centers, and 1,200 new or upgraded workstations, to serve up to an additional 21,000 users each week and provide training for as many as 90,000 residents.

Delaware: Delaware Department of State. This $1.9 million grant will fund the upgrade of 32 public computer centers and approximately 50 new workstations to serve up to an additional 1,300 users each week and provide training for as many as 2,000 residents.

Florida: Florida A&M University. This $1.5 million grant will fund a new public computer center with 65 workstations to serve an estimated 2,800 users each week and provide training for as many as 14,500 residents.

Nevada: Lyon County School District. This $745,000 grant will fund six new public computer centers with approximately 120 workstations to serve up to an estimated 1,700 users each week and provide training for as many as 7,500 residents.

New York: Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe. This $642,000 grant will fund five new public computer centers with approximately 60 workstations to serve up to an additional 500 users each week and provide training for as many as 2,700 residents.

Sustainable Broadband Adoption awards:

Arkansas: Connect Arkansas, Inc. This $3.7 million grant will fund training for approximately 2,600 residents, focusing on digital literacy, online entrepreneurship, and access to telehealth services.

California: California Emerging Technology Fund. This $7.1 million grant will fund a project designed to place unemployed residents in IT-industry jobs by training approximately 37,000 people and providing computers to qualified low-income residents who graduate from a broadband training curriculum. 

California: City and County of San Francisco. This $7.9 million grant will fund a project to provide broadband-related training to approximately 8,400 seniors, low-income individuals, and others in economically and socially vulnerable groups.

California, Louisiana, Minnesota, New York, Oregon, and Texas: Portland State University. This $3.3 million grant will fund digital literacy and other training tailored to adult learners. The project intends to train approximately 23,000 people, focusing on economically vulnerable populations, to prepare them for careers in the digital economy.

Michigan: Michigan State University. This $5.2 million grant will fund a project to provide broadband-related training to approximately 3,200 residents, focusing on high school students, displaced workers, and small businesses in 11 cities across the state. One project aim is to prepare displaced former industrial workers for IT jobs.

Washington: Toledo Telephone Company. This $2.1 million grant will fund a project with the Cowlitz Tribe to provide broadband-related training to approximately 750 residents. Qualified residents who complete a training curriculum may receive subsidized equipment and broadband access.

(Fact sheets with further information about all BTOP grants are available on the NTIA program web site here: http://www.ntia.doc.gov/broadbandUSA)