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Grants announced to help people in rural areas get broadband capability

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Funds from the government may help bring broadband to rural parts of the country.
Funds from the government may help bring broadband to rural parts of the country.

Through a number of programs, the government has made efforts to try and make people who live in rural areas more connected through technology.

Though farmers may have the latest gear when it comes to agricultural equipment, some may not have the ability to be sufficiently plugged in to resources like the internet. However, recent grants and loans through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act should help through bringing broadband connectivity to rural areas.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently announced that $4.8 billion is being made available through its Rural Utilities Service in conjunction with the Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration. The goal of the grants and loans is to reduce the divide rural areas may experience with technology, and doing so should help increase available jobs and help those areas' economies.

Along with the money, new rules for the program were presented, with the goal of making the application process easier. Jonathon Adelstein, administrator for RUS, said that the new rules were based on the previous funding round. Along with helping those in rural areas, the new guidelines will help the organizations be more flexible.

"We are going to stretch every last dime to maximize economic development in rural areas that currently lack adequate broadband service," Adelstein said.

Along with the grants, a number of officials from Congress and the executive branch took part in a rural tour last year, with the purpose of getting feedback from people in those areas regarding improving communication.
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