WASHINGTON Oct 5 California and three other
states were among the first recipients of more than $6.8
million in grants to map broadband use in U.S. homes, the
Commerce Department said on Monday.
The mapping program is a small portion of a $7.2 billion
program under the stimulus plan. It is being administered by
the departments of Commerce and Agriculture to bring high speed
Internet to more Americans, especially those in rural areas.
The Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and
Information Administration (NTIA) said the current and future
recipients will collect and verify the availability, speed, and
location of broadband in their states.
The broadband map is aimed at helping policymakers
determine where services are needed the most and how to
increase usage where it is already available.
The California Public Utilities Commission received $2.3
million in grants, North Carolina's Rural Economic Development
Center Inc received $2 million, the Indiana Office of
Technology was awarded about $1.3 million and the Vermont
Center for Geographic Information got $1.2 million, NTIA said.
NTIA said it received applications from all 50 states, five
territories and the District of Columbia to participate in the
mapping program. More grant recipients are expected to be
"The four award recipients submitted well-formed proposals
that are both fiscally prudent and serve as a model for
others," NTIA Administrator Larry Strickling said in a
Last week the Federal Communications Commission, which is
crafting a national broadband plan to be submitted to Congress
in February estimated that total investment to expand access to
all Americans and increase subscriptions could cost between $20
billion and $350 billion, depending on the quality of broadband
(Reporting by John Poirier; Editing by Gary Hill)