The Obama Administration has announced 66 stimulus-funded grants to bring broadband Internet connectivity to underserved communities across the nation, including 900 health care facilities.

The grants, which will directly create about 5,000 upfront jobs, according to the White House, also will serve more than 685,000 businesses and 2,400 schools in all 50 states. Grant funds from the Departments of Agriculture and Commerce total $795 million and will be matched with more than $200 million in outside funds.

The grants will cover infrastructure projects, particularly "middle mile" and "last mile" connections; and expanded computer center capacity for public use in libraries, community centers and other public facilities. Most of the affected communities have little or no current access to broadband.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act appropriated $7.2 billion for expanding broadband access. Counting the new funds, more than $2.7 billion has been awarded to 260 projects since December 2009.

A list of the new broadband grant awards is available here.

--Joseph Goedert


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