August 28, 2009
Companies Request Broadband Stimulus Funds
On Thursday, the federal government announced that it had received requests totaling $28 billion from organizations needing high-speed Internet service.
The government has roughly $4 billion in grants and loans currently available.
The money will be used to connect rural homes and groups to the Internet.
Officials hope the service will stimulate interest in groups who don't often use the Internet, and expand access in public locations like libraries and schools.
Nearly all of the requests, $23.2 billion, are to build Internet lines.
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration and the Rural Utilities Service will decide who will receive the grants in November.
If groups are refused money during the first round of financing, they will still have two more chances to compete for the remaining funds.
Under the Cash for Clunkers program, the government issue $3 billion to discount 700,000 new cars that could be purchased as replacements for gas guzzling vehicles.
A $787 billion economic stimulus bill passed in January provided funding for that program, and will also provide $7.2 billion for the broadband Internet project.
Some of the $7.2 billion will be used to fund loans, so the total dollar amount that is granted will be higher.
The broadband Internet project is the first time the federal government is making a large-scale effort to expand Internet access.
Phone and cable companies have not been interested in participating in the program.
Qwest Communications International Inc., a large phone company in the Western U.S., said participating in the program offered no benefits for their company.
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