WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Jim Webb and Mark Warner and Representatives Tom Perriello and Rick Boucher today announced two grants totaling more than $21.5 million to expand broadband Internet infrastructure in Virginia. The grants, awarded through the Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), will support the deployment of broadband infrastructure in unserved and underserved areas, enhance and expand public computer centers, and encourage sustainable adoption of broadband service. These investments will help bridge the technological divide, boost economic growth and create jobs.
The grants are funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, supported by Senators Webb and Warner and Representatives Perriello and Boucher.
The two grants announced today will add 575 miles of new high-speed Internet infrastructure in Southern Virginia. The grants were announced during a press conference call with White House Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra, Senators Jim Webb and Mark Warner, and Representative Tom Perriello.
Webb and Perriello have especially good quotes:
"These projects are valuable in terms of attracting new businesses, allowing medical professionals to give better care, and giving tens of thousands of local residents access to the internet," said Senator Webb. "Southside and Southwest Virginia have been hit hard by the economic downturn. It is our duty to provide this part of the Commonwealth with a fair shot at the future. I have consistently fought for the expansion of high speed internet in Virginia's rural areas and I am pleased the American Recovery and Recovery Act prioritized this funding."
"This is a huge boost for Southside Virginia, benefiting our kids' educational success in the short term and building our region's long-term competitive advantage for the 21st Century," said Representative Perriello. "I'm thrilled these stimulus funds will expand Internet access for consumers in our small towns and rural communities, giving our workforce the competitive edge they deserve."
Rep. Boucher also pointed out that all major infrastructural improvements in our nation's history have required a boost from the federal government--subtly demolishing the "wasteful spending" argument that will inevitably be leveled by the right. No, Tea Partiers, not all government spending is bad, and I for one am glad our elected officials want our communities to be included in the 21st century economy.