December 23, 2009

Reed, Whitehouse Announce Stimulus Funds to Increase Broadband Internet Access in Rhode Island

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) today announced that the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation (RIEDC) will receive approximately $1.5 million in federal funding to expand broadband internet services in Rhode Island. The funding is provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), which Reed and Whitehouse supported.

“Expanding broadband services to more Rhode Islanders is a smart investment in our state’s infrastructure and the economy. It will help boost local economic productivity in communities that currently lack the technology, while allowing for improved service availability at our schools, hospitals, and other vitally important public institutions,” said Reed.

“From education to public safety to economic development, broadband is a major part of our state’s infrastructure. This funding will improve and expand broadband service throughout Rhode Island and help to support jobs,” said Whitehouse.

RIEDC will receive approximately $1 million for broadband data collection and mapping activities over a two-year period and almost $500,000 for broadband planning activities in Rhode Island over a five-year period. The data will be displayed in Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (NTIA) national broadband map, a tool that will inform policymakers’ efforts and provide consumers with improved information on the broadband Internet services available to them.

The State Broadband Data and Development Grant Program provides grants to assist states in gathering and verifying state-specific data on the availability, speed, location, and technology type of broadband services. The data collected and compiled will also be used to develop publicly available state-wide broadband maps and to inform the comprehensive, interactive, and searchable national broadband map that NTIA is required by the Recovery Act to create and make publicly available by February 17, 2011.

The national broadband map will publicly display the geographic areas where broadband service is available; the technology used to provide the service; the speeds of the service; and broadband service availability at public schools, libraries, hospitals, colleges, universities, and public buildings. The national map will also be searchable by address and show the broadband providers offering service in the corresponding block or street.


Press Contact

Meaghan McCabe, (202) 224-2921