Washington - The federal government will invest over $1 billion in new broadband projects that could create some 5,000 jobs and help spur economic development in depressed communities, The White House said.
President Obama is expected to announce the Recovery Act grants and loans tomorrow.
The funds, which include nearly $800 million from the Departments of Commerce and Agriculture, and over $200 million in private investment, will be used to build and improve infrastructure and expand computer center capacity for public use in libraries, community colleges and other public venues.
The White House cited an analysis released last year by the National Economic Council suggesting that wiring homes and businesses through Recovery Act investments could create tens of thousands of jobs and expand economic development and job opportunities in communities with little or no broadband access.
Earlier this week President Obama signed an executive memorandum endorsing a plan to make 500 megahertz of federal and commercial spectrum available for wireless broadband services over the next 10 years.
Today's announcement followed a mixed unemployment report from the Bureau of Labor statistics putting the June jobless rate at 9.5 percent, six-tenths of a percentage point below its high last year.