Wednesday, December 02, 2009
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation commits $3.4 million to bolster Internet connections for libraries in five U.S. states
"The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has committed nearly $3.4 million in grants to bolster Internet connections for libraries in five states. It also announced partnerships with 14 additional states to help public libraries compete for federal broadband stimulus funds. Nationally, libraries report that patron demand for high-speed Internet access is growing faster than their ability to provide increased bandwidth. A recent American Library Association study reports that 60 percent of all libraries say their current Internet speed is insufficient. State libraries in Arkansas ($735,207), Kansas ($363,099), Massachusetts ($367,789), New York ($947,517), and Virginia ($977,468) received foundation funds to execute statewide plans to improve and maintain Internet connections in local libraries. Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Idaho, Kentucky, Montana, North Carolina, Nebraska, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Utah, Vermont, and Washington will participate in the foundation’s new Opportunity Online broadband grant program, which will help libraries develop proposals for federal broadband stimulus funding from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration's (NTIA) Broadband Technology Opportunities Program established through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act"