President Obama, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Commerce Secretary Gary Locke have announced investment in 66 new Recovery Act broadband projects nationwide, 37 in rural America, that will not only directly create over 5,000 jobs up front, but also help spur economic development in some of the nation's hardest-hit communities. In total, tens-of-millions of Americans and over 685,000 businesses, 900 healthcare facilities and 2,400 schools in all 50 states stand to benefit from the awards.
For the Department of Agriculture this begins the second round of funding. The $780 million in grants and loans through the Departments of Commerce and Agriculture have been matched by over $200 million in outside investment for a total public-private investment of nearly $1 billion.
According to analysis released by the National Economic Council, with new or increased broadband access communities can compete on a level playing field to attract new businesses, schools can create distance learning opportunities, medical professionals can provide cost-efficient remote diagnoses and care and business owners can expand the market for their products beyond their neighborhoods.