Obama to announce broadband grants to spur jobs
* White House says funds will directly create 5,000 jobs
* Funds to help expand public computer centers
WASHINGTON, July 2 (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama is slated to announce on Friday nearly $800 million in loans and grants for the build-out of broadband networks to reach homes, schools and hospitals.
The grants and loans, which will be matched by another $200 million in outside investment, is part of Obama's massive federal stimulus package.
The White House said the infrastructure projects will directly create 5,000 jobs and help spur economic development in some of the nation's hardest-hit communities.
The planned announcement comes amid news that U.S. employment fell for the first time this year in June as thousands of temporary census jobs ended and private hiring grew less than expected, dealing a blow to Obama who has identified job creation as a key priority. [ID:nN01165161]
The departments of Agriculture and Commerce will administer the grants and loans, which were awarded for projects in 50 states and Washington, D.C.
Increasing broadband access to rural and low-income families and small businesses is a major part of the National Broadband Plan issued by the Federal Communications Commission earlier this year.
The projects will include laying communications lines to homes, hospitals and schools and expanding computer facilities in libraries, community colleges and other public areas.
The White House said with the projects to be announced Friday, more than $2.7 billion in broadband grants and loans will have been awarded to more than 260 projects across the country since December 2009.
(Reporting by John Poirier, editing by Dave Zimmerman)
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