Originally published: February 6, 2010
Last updated: February 11, 2010 - 6:41pm
Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced a $5.9 million Recovery Act grant that will expand broadband Internet access at the South Carolina Technical College System's 16 member colleges across the state. The investment will help bridge the technological divide, improve education, and help more South Carolinians gain the skills needed to compete in the 21st century workforce.
The grant was awarded to the South Carolina State Board for Technical and Comprehensive Education. Its S.C. "Reach for Success" project proposes to expand the capacity of 51 public computer centers and create 19 new computer labs at the South Carolina Technical College System's 16 member colleges. The college system is the state's largest higher education system, with 114,000 degree-seeking students and 128,000 continuing education students. Of these students, almost half receive federal Pell Grant assistance and 37 percent are minorities. This project will open these community college computer centers to the general public for the first time and plans to nearly double the number of workstations available by purchasing 2,028 new computers, 596 of which will replace outdated models. The expanded capacity will accommodate an increase in users per week from 17,000 to 38,000.
The Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration also announced a $1.2 million Recovery Act that will expand broadband Internet access at Rhode Island's 71 public libraries across the state. Funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, NTIA's Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) provides grants to support the deployment of broadband infrastructure in unserved and underserved areas, enhance and expand public computer centers, and encourage sustainable adoption of broadband service. These investments will help bridge the technological divide, boost economic growth and create jobs.
The grant will go to OSHEAN Inc., a consortium of not-for-profit organizations, which will use the funding to replace 327 existing computers and add more than 403 new workstations in Rhode Island libraries. The expanded capacity is expected to allow the libraries to serve more than 6,900 additional users per week.
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