The state of Arkansas has received about $7.7 million in federal stimulus money to improve broadband connectivity.
Please, Rep. Boozman, stop this! Everybody knows Arkansas has all the broadband it needs. (Sarcasm intended.)
In the congressional news release, not joined by Dr. No Boozman, Sen. Blanche Lincoln said:
“The availability of high-speed Internet is critical to Arkansas’s economic development and prosperity,” Lincoln said. “In order to successfully compete in this economy, Arkansas’s small and rural businesses must have access to high-speed Internet and Arkansans entering the workforce must have the skills to effectively use the Internet. I am pleased to announce this Recovery Act investment that will strengthen our state’s workforce and economy.”
Boozman figures rural folks and small businesses can pay their own damn way or just move somewhere else.
Connect Arkansas President C. Sam Walls today announced that the organization will receive $7.8 million in federal grants through the Sustainable Broadband Adoption and State Broadband Data and Development grant programs administered by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.
The SBA award totaled $3,702,738; the SBDD award totaled $4,094,128.
“This is an exciting day for Connect,” Walls said. “The additional three-year grant validates the work we have completed thus far. We are very excited about what we can accomplish across the State of Arkansas through the increased adoption of broadband by our citizens.
Walls noted that while today’s grant award does not fully fund Connect Arkansas’s long-term strategic plan, Walls said, “Today’s award will go a long way toward accomplishing our goals, and it supports a significant piece of what we’re trying to do.”
Money from the SBA grant will be used by Connect to conduct a number of activities with the goal of increasing the use of high-speed internet by the citizens of Arkansas. Those activities will include:
-statewide high-speed internet planning
-improving broadband education
-providing computers to children of low-income families
-online entrepreneurial activities
-forming partnerships with UAMS to improve Telehealth training and delivery.
Funding from the SBDD grant will allow Connect to continue maintaining state-level broadband data collection for the purpose of accomplishing state and federal objectives. Connect Arkansas received a two-year grant in 2009 to begin broadband data collection; today’s three-year grant — which will begin in 2011 — will allow Connect to continue to enhance and improve the data the organization has collected to date.
Connect created and released a set of broadband coverage maps for public view in May, and will be releasing a next generation, interactive coverage map this fall.
The grant also provides funding for broadband awareness efforts and community strategic planning.