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Commerce Announces Recovery Act Investment in California to Expand Broadband Internet Adoption and Economic Opportunities

February 26, 2010
News Media Contact
Jessica Schafer

WASHINGTON The Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) today announced a $7.25 million Recovery Act investment to bridge the technological divide and increase economic opportunities in vulnerable and low-income communities in Los Angeles, the Central Valley, Orange County, San Diego, and the Inland Empire in California. The grant will fund digital literacy training for more than 675,000 individuals, enabling them to make use of key educational, employment, and health resources online.

With this investment, the California Emerging Technology Fund will coordinate a multifaceted outreach campaign using local partner organizations, trusted ambassadors, and grassroots mobilization, to disseminate information about broadband training and services to 5 million California residents. Among other benefits, this investment will upgrade California's One-e-App one-stop online screening and enrollment system that helps families apply for a range of health care and social service programs. The project expects to increase adoption of broadband Internet service among key vulnerable populations by more than 130,000 households. 

"High-speed Internet access is the lifeblood of today's economy. While broadband usage rates have increased in recent years, a significant portion of the population is still not online and therefore deprived of access to many job and educational opportunities, employment training, health information, and other vital services that are available online," said Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information and NTIA Administrator Lawrence E. Strickling. "This investment will help close this gap and help create economic opportunities for more Americans."

The Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration's (NTIA) Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP), funded by the Recovery Act, provides grants to support the deployment of broadband infrastructure, enhance and expand public computer centers, and encourage sustainable adoption of broadband service.

NTIA received more than 1,800 applications proposing projects totaling nearly $19 billion during the first BTOP funding round and is currently awarding grants on a rolling basis. NTIA is currently accepting BTOP applications through March 15, 2010 for a second round of funding.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provided a total of $7.2 billion to NTIA and the Department of Agriculture's Rural Utilities Service (RUS) to fund projects that will expand access to and adoption of broadband services. Of that funding, NTIA will utilize $4.7 billion for grants to deploy broadband infrastructure in the United States, expand public computer center capacity, and encourage sustainable adoption of broadband service. NTIA will announce all grant awards by September 30, 2010.

Project Factsheet

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