Vice President Biden announces first broadband stimulus grants

The first round of broadband stimulus grant money was awarded to individual grants earlier this month. Stumping for the Recovery Act in Georgia, Vice President Joe Biden announced $183 million in individual grants to broadband projects.

In Dawsonville, Georgia, on December 17, Biden joined Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue to discuss the grants, which will apply to seventeen states.

"New broadband access means more capacity and better reliability in rural areas and underserved urban communities around the country," said the Vice President, "Businesses will be able to improve their customer service and better compete around the world."

"Broadband is the new dial tone of the 21st-century," said Governor Perdue, "Internet access is as important to our communications infrastructure today as reliable telephone service was a century ago."

The governor had reason to be pleased: the awards include a $33.5 million grant to the North Georgia Network Cooperative, which will deploy broadband connections in the rural North Georgia foothills.

The Vice President's announcement appears to be part of a full court press on behalf of the Recovery Act: his appearance in Georgia coincided with the release of a report by the National Economic Council (NEC) titled "Recovery Act Investment in Broadband: Leveraging Federal Dollars to Create Jobs and Connect America." The report discusses how broadband can connect communities to the knowledge-based economy that might otherwise be left out.

Jared Bernstein, chief economic adviser to the Vice President, told reporters that, "the number of jobs created by broadband investments will be tens of thousands, but we can't be more precise at this time."

CWA will closely monitor the grant awards to track job creation.

Biden Annouces $183M Recovery Act Investment In Broadband Projects (Talking Points Memo)

BTOP Project Information (NTIA)

"Recovery Act Investment in Broadband: Leveraging Federal Dollars to Create Jobs and Connect America" (WhiteHouse.gov)

VP: Let's revolutionize Ga. (Politico)