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VP Biden to unveil first $182 million in broadband grants

The White House today will announce winners of stimulus funds for build-out broadband Internet service to remote and poor areas. Vice President Joe Biden will announce in a speech in Dawsonville, Ga., the first 18 projects that will get $182 million in funds out of a total pot of $7.2 billion set aside from the stimulus plan for broadband deployment and programs to teach people how to get online and make it easier to adopt the service.

The awards will be the first of several projects the administration will announce over the next 75 days. Here's the White House press release .

The projects to be announced today, according to the Associated Press:

-- A $33.5 million grant to the North Georgia Network Cooperative for a fiber-optic ring that will bring high-speed Internet connections to the northern Georgia foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. The project will serve an eight-county area with a population of 334,000.

-- A $25.4 million grant to the Biddleford Internet Corp., a partnership between the University of Maine and service providers, to build three fiber-optic rings across rural Maine. The network will pass through more than 100 communities with 110,000 households and will connect 10 University of Maine campuses.

-- A combined grant/loan of $2.4 million to the Consolidated Electric Cooperative in north central Ohio to build a 166-mile fiber network that will be used, among other things, to connect 16 electrical substations to support a smart-grid project.

Other projects receiving funds include a 4G wireless network to be built in southwestern Alaska, a fiber-to-the-home project in a remote corner of New Hampshire and computer centers for 84 libraries in Arizona.

Congress included $7.2 billion for broadband projects in the stimulus bill to create jobs and bring new economic opportunities to parts of the country left behind in today's digital age. That includes $4.7 billion to be awarded by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, an arm of the Commerce Department, and $2.5 billion to be awarded by the Rural Utilities Service, part of the Agriculture Department.

By Cecilia Kang  |  December 17, 2009; 10:12 AM ET
Categories:  Broadband  
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