Obama to announce broadband grants to spur jobs

U.S. President Barack Obama is slated to announce on July 2 nearly $800 million in loans and grants for the build-out of broadband networks to reach homes, schools, and hospitals, Reuters reports. The grants and loans, which will be matched by another $200 million in outside investment, are part of Obama’s massive federal stimulus package. The White House said the infrastructure projects will directly create 5,000 jobs and help spur economic development in some of the nation’s hardest-hit communities. The planned announcement comes amid news that U.S. employment fell for the first time this year in June as thousands of temporary census jobs ended and private hiring grew less than expected, dealing a blow to Obama who has identified job creation as a key priority. The departments of Agriculture and Commerce will administer the grants and loans, which were awarded for projects in 50 states and Washington, D.C. The projects will include laying communications lines to homes, hospitals, and schools and expanding computer facilities in libraries, community colleges, and other public areas. These latest grants and loans will bring the total amount disbursed for broadband projects to more than $2.7 billion since December 2009, covering more than 260 individual projects…

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