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Obama announces new U.S. broadband connection funding

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Obama promotes broadband expansion
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Obama announces investments in 66 broadband projects
  • $795 million in grants and loans funded by 2009 economic stimulus act
  • Money will bring broadband services to rural, poor communities
  • Federal money will also fund public computing centers

(CNN) -- President Barack Obama on Friday announced new government investments in 66 projects to expand broadband connections in rural and poor areas across the country.

The $795 million in grants and loans funded by the 2009 economic stimulus act will create 5,000 construction and installation jobs, and generate $200 million in associated private investment, according to information provided by the White House.

"We're moving forward" in the creation of a twenty-first century economy, Obama said. "Studies have shown" that such an investment can eventually "lead to hundreds of thousands of new jobs." It will also accelerate the country's switch to a "smarter, stronger, more secure electrical grid."

Over 685,000 businesses, 900 health care facilities and 2,400 schools in all 50 states will benefit from the investment, according to a White House document.

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The money will bring broadband services to communities that "currently have little or no access, to help them better compete and do business in the global marketplace," the document said.

"With new or increased broadband access, communities can compete on a level playing field to attract new businesses, schools can create distance learning opportunities, medical professionals can provide cost-efficient remote diagnoses and care, and business owners can expand the market for their products beyond their neighborhoods to better compete in the global economy," the document noted.

In addition, the federal money also will fund public computing centers in libraries, community colleges and other public venues, according to the document.

 
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