WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the next in a series of public meetings on the Broadband Technology Program of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The meetings will be held at 10 a.m. on March 19, 23 and 24 at the U.S. Department of Commerce in Washington, D.C., 1401 Constitution Ave, N.W.

The meetings will provide the public with an opportunity to comment on the most effective way for USDA to provide grants and loans for broadband systems. Congress authorized $2.5 billion to USDA and $4.7 billion to the Department of Commerce for broadband access.

"President Obama's broadband initiatives will accelerate the availability of broadband in unserved and underserved areas spurring much-needed job growth and economic activity," said Vilsack. "These meetings provide invaluable feedback and guidance from the public on how to distribute funding in the most efficient and effective manner."

Earlier this week, on March 17, USDA and the Department of Commerce held a public meeting in Las Vegas, Nev., and also on March 18 at the High Country Conference Center (Northern Arizona University) in Flagstaff, AZ.