Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Awards $6.9 Million in Grants

Dec 23, 2008

A pilot initiative announced by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will help public libraries in seven states secure faster internet connections so more people can access a full range of online applications and opportunities. The foundation has awarded $6,959,771 in combined grant funding to Connected Nation, a non-profit broadband internet advocacy group, and the American Library Association’s Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP) to support improved internet connections for public libraries in Arkansas, California, Kansas, Massachusetts, New York, Texas, and Virginia. Connected Nation will receive $6,107,882 to help each pilot state organize and host a broadband summit. OITP will receive $851,889 to provide research and expertise that will help state library agencies develop and begin to implement strategies to ensure library broadband connections are sustainable. Connected Nation, OITP, and the Gates Foundation will work with state library agencies to improve and sustain Internet connections in all public libraries within the pilot states to at least 1.5 Mbps, or faster wherever feasible. The foundation is inviting the seven pilot states to submit proposals to support the increased cost and implementation of faster Internet connections.