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Workshops Aim to Maximize Investments in Broadband Infrastructure, Enhancing Overall Economic Development in Rural Areas

As further evidence of Secretary Vilsack’s belief that broadband is the foundation of rural economic development, he brought together American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) Broadband Initiatives Program (BIP) recipients, economic development experts, and USDA officials in Dallas last week.  They worked together to prepare for the deployment and expansion of broadband into some of the most remote locations in rural America.   The workshop provided the opportunity for recipients to learn about compliance and reporting requirements associated with their funding packages.  Additionally, the workshop brought together representatives in the broadband industry with economic development experts to communicate how their unique roles can work together in a holistic approach to community economic development.

The workshops were designed to provide information on the various aspects of deploying broadband from construction, to contracting and labor, to accounting and compliance.  These workshops are a critical step in maximizing the investments through the ARRA Broadband Initiatives Program and to enhance the overall economic development efforts within rural communities.

In Dallas, a welcome message from Secretary Vilsack shared his vision for improved health care, education, and increased economic opportunities in rural areas through investments in this critical infrastructure.   These broadband projects not only help to create immediate job opportunities, future generations are sure to benefit from this strategic investment in rural America’s communication infrastructure.

The workshop in Dallas is the first of two Rural Development Post Award workshops being offered to recipients; the second will be hosted in Chicago, June 23-24.  The workshops are proving to be a valuable tool in communicating essential program details and requirements and in connecting economic development efforts.   USDA Rural Development is looking forward to expanding broadband service throughout rural America through future BIP awards.

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