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Recovery Act Awards Alaska $1.9 million for Broadband Expansion


Denali Commission awarded money for data collection, mapping

Recognizing the vital role the internet plays in educating youth, extending health care and growing small business, U.S. Sen. Mark Begich today announced $1.9 million in grants for broadband mapping and planning in Alaska. The Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) funds, awarded in two grants to the Denali Commission, will assist the development of high speed internet access across Alaska. The program is funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) passed by Congress in February.

"The internet has become a necessary component of everyday life in Alaska's cities and rural villages," Begich said. "Expanding broadband access across Alaska is critical to creating new economic opportunities for small businesses and individual Alaskans in every size community."

Of the $1.9 million, approximately $1.4 million will be allocated for broadband data collection and mapping activities, which will take place over a period of two years. Combining the joint purposes of the ARRA and the Broadband Data Improvement Act, these efforts will identify and verify the availability, speed and location of broadband services. This data will be posted in a searchable national broadband map publicly available through the NTIA beginning on February 17, 2011. An additional $500,000 will be allocated over five years for broadband planning activities.

Alaska is one of six states to receive grants in this round of awards. Overall, all 50 states and five territories have applied to participate in this program, with 15 awards already being distributed.

As of  October, more than $1.5 billion in ARRA funds have been dedicated to Alaska. It is estimated that this investment will help create or sustain some 8,000 jobs. In September Sen. Begich released a status report of the Recovery Act in Alaska; it is accessible on his Web site at http://begich.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?p=AmericanRecoveryReinvestmentActLinks. Begich was a strong supporter of the legislation in the Senate and voted for its passage.

Additional information on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is available online at http://www.recovery.gov/

Additional information on the National Telecommunication and Information Administration is available online at http://www.ntia.doc.gov/
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