WASHINGTON – United States Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship Chair Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., today released two grant guides for small businesses interested in applying for $4 billion in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act) grants to bring broadband internet service to unserved, underserved and rural communities across the nation. Applications for the first round of Recovery Act funding for broadband infrastructure are being accepted through August 14, 2009.

“These grants play an integral role in spurring small business growth in rural America,” Senator Landrieu said. “Increasing access to broadband internet service will help to bridge the technological divide between rural businesses and competing companies that have long had access to internet and technology. I encourage small business owners to apply for these competitive grants. This is a historic opportunity to both improve our communities and U.S. competitiveness.”

In June, Sen. Landrieu sent a letter to Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, Department of Agriculture Secretary, Tom Vilsack, and others supporting their efforts to expand access to broadband technology for the benefit of small businesses. In the same letter, Sen. Landrieu asked that priority be given to applications deploying broadband in unserved rural areas.

The Senator has been a long-time advocate for the expansion of broadband technology and co-sponsored the Broadband Data Improvement Act that became law in October 2008. The law encourages the deployment of high-speed Internet access to areas that need it most and authorized the Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy to do a 2-year report on broadband access and affordability for small businesses. The Committee is monitoring the implementation of Recovery Act funding and the progress of the Advocacy report. In her June 10th letter, Senator Landrieu indicated that she plans to invite Federal agencies before her Committee later this year to testify on the impact of Recovery Act broadband funds on small business growth.

Please find the guide for the U.S. Department of Commerce Broadband Technology Opportunity Program (BTOP) here: https://www.sbc.senate.gov/resources/Grant%20Guides/BTOP-Grant-Guide.pdf

Please find the guide for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Broadband Initiatives Program (BIP) here: https://www.sbc.senate.gov/resources/Grant%20Guides/BIP-Grant-Guide.pdf