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Latino-Targeted Broadband Training/Equipment Program To Launch

A top National Telecommunications & Information Administration official will be in San Francisco May 17 to launch what is described as a 13-city, free bilingual broadband initiative.

The Latino Tech-Net (LTN) which is funded through NTIA's BTOP stimulus grants, is projected to create 2,100 jobs and provide 45,000 residents with basic computer service. The announcement is timed to National Small Business Week.

The grant was $3,724,128 to the Mission Economic Development Agency for public computer centers.

LTN's goal is to equip 17 public computer centers in 11 cities with more than 300 workstations. It is focused on providing computer access and training to low-and-moderate-income Latinos, "with an emphasis on serving Latino entrepreneurs." NTIA's Broadband Technology Opportunities Program () targeted its second round of stimulus funding to anchor institutions including schools and community centers.

Cable operators are solidly behind training programs and boosting the tally of computers and skilled users, but not so much on funding broadband deployment areas where the government may be subsidizing existing service.

Anna Gomez, deputy assistant secretary at NTIA, deputy administrator, will make the trip to San Francisco for the launch event, according to an NTIA spokesperson.

"High-speed Internet access is key to economic growth and opportunity in today's economy," said Gomez, "but too many people are on the wrong side of the digital divide. This Recovery Act project will deliver education and job-creation benefits to Latinos across the country and help empower Hispanic entrepreneurs to compete and succeed in today's 21st century digital economy."

NTIA has been busy on the broadband front, last week launching a new web site,, to help aggregate digital literacy resources and information to help online job searchers with the online skills, both job-searching and once they get on the job, to succeed in the digital economy.

NTIA is an agency of the Department of Commerce.