Stimulus bill funds technology projects

When President Obama signed the $787 billion stimulus bill last week, he unleashed billions of dollars in new spending on a myriad of technology-related projects for the United States.

The bill authorizes $7.2 billion for broadband deployment to rural and other unserved areas. It gives $2.5 billion to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service for direct loans and grants to broadband providers in rural areas, and $4.7 billion to the U.S. National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) for broadband deployment grants.

The legislation provides $11 billion to fund projects to modernize the nation’s electricity grid and hook it up to an Internet-based monitoring system. There’s also $17 billion to computerize health records, and $3 billion to the National Science Foundation for basic research in fundamental science and engineering.

Another $2 billion is for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science, which funds research in such areas as climate science, biofuels, high-energy physics, nuclear physics and fusion energy sciences. And another $4.5 billion is slated for the repair of federal government building to increase energy efficiency using green technology.

Not in the final legislation were tax credits for broadband providers nor a controversial broadband speed requirement once in the House version of the bill. The final version does include net neutrality and interconnection requirements to be determined by the NTIA and the FCC.