Biden To Announce First Broadband Grant Winners

Turns out broadband grants are a Vice Presidential kind of thing.

Vice President Joe Biden, who announced the initial availability of the stimulus package's broadband grants back in July, was in Pennsylvania Thursday to announce the first handful of winners in the first round of bids for the $7.2 billion in the National Telecommunications & Information Administration/Rural Utilities Service stiumus program.

According to an ABC report, Biden will announce an initial $182 million in grants to 17 states, though a couple billion in projects are expected to be announced today by NTIA/RUS. The goal of the program is to get broadband to unserved and underserved communities as a way to stimulate the economy and create jobs.

Reacting to the news, Free Press policy director Ben Scott called it "a welcome holiday gift for the thousands of Americans living in these areas that have yet to know the transformative benefits of broadband technology." Free Press said it was pleased to see a focus on "middle mile" projects, which are ones that help link up unserved communities, as contrasted with "last mile" projects which hook up individual homes and busineses.

An audio feed of the announcement was scheduled to begin at 11:30 p.m., according to the White House.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.