One year after the Recovery Act was signed into law, it is clear that it is working. It saved us from the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression and is laying a new foundation to create jobs and grow the economy. The evidence of the Recovery Act's success is particularly compelling in rural communities. Access to broadband connections varies widely from state to state across rural America, but expanding that access creates economic opportunity. Expanding access is also a critical part of the Recovery Act.
MinnPost called broadband connectivity "the new must-have component of the business infrastructure, as essential to commerce and productivity as highways and telephones." As evidence, the article describes how real estate agents and fishing lodges in rural Minnesota rely on the Internet to attract homebuyers and purchase fishing licenses for tourists yet struggle with sluggish dial-up connections.
In December, Vice President Biden traveled to rural Georgia to announce the first round of grants kicking off the Recovery Act's $7.2 billion broadband program.
"New broadband access means more capacity and better reliability in rural areas and underserved urban communities around the country. Businesses will be able to improve their customer service and better compete around the world," said Vice President Biden.
"This is what the Recovery Act is all about - sparking new growth, tapping into the ingenuity of the American people and giving folks the tools they need to help build a new economy in the 21st-century."
The grant announcements are continuing through this month. As this report from the National Economic Council details, communities are leveraging them to create new jobs and new economic opportunities.