Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke announced yesterday a collaborative effort to deliver broadband access to rural areas to promote economic development.
The Department of Agriculture announced plans to award nearly $1.2 billion for 126 projects across the country to connect homes, businesses, and critical community institutions that don’t currently have adequate access.
The delivery of broadband to these areas will promote rural economic development, improve access to education, healthcare, public safety and most importantly, provide the infrastructure needed to create the environment for the growth of quality jobs.
The two officials described broadband as “an essential piece of a successful 21st-century economy.” They added, “But it can only be so if we deploy networks that offer all Americans quality service, while also teaching the skills to use broadband and encouraging its use to promote our national priorities, including education, healthcare, energy, and public safety.”
Over the next 60 days, the Commerce and Agriculture departments will award about $4 billion dollars to help provide critical broadband services to states and communities across the country.
“We are looking forward to the two months ahead when we will be rolling out the remainder of our awards, and we hope many of you are as well,” Locke and Vilsack wrote. “Weâre excited to be finally building the infrastructure of the future, and to be executing the Presidentâs and Congressâ vision of a high-speed, high-performance America.”