Biden announces details of broadband grants, Genachowski outlines FCC plans

by Karl Bode, DSL Resports

Uncle Sam today announced the rules governing the first of three rounds in the government's $7.2 billion broadband economic stimulus package, all 121 pages of which are now available if you're a non-profit or municipal entity planning on applying, or if you just like wordy government documents. The NTIA will dole out $4.5 billion in government funds to help deliver broadband (feebly defined as 768kbps downstream and 200kbps upstream) into under or unserved areas. Another $2.5 billion will be handed out by the Department of Agriculture's Rural Utilities Service (RUS) grant program, which for some time has been tasked with giving loans to markets where 75% of the area is rural without sufficient broadband access.

Applications for loans and grants from the two agencies will be accepted starting on July 14 until August 14, according to Vice President Joe Biden, who made a PR stop in Pennsylvania today to unveil the plan. "This funding is a down payment on the President's commitment to bring the educational and economic benefits of the Internet to all communities," Biden said in a statement.

A broader, more substantive broadband plan has been promised for some time, and will be the major focal point for new FCC boss Julius Genachowski, who spoke yesterday (pdf transcript) before FCC employees -- paying ample lip service to broadband connectivity. Back in June the government opened the door to suggestions, but isn't expected to release the plan until this winter.

article originally published at DSL Resports.

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