US vice president Joe Biden has outlined a state-funded USD4.7 billion loan and grant programme designed to fund the deployment of broadband infrastructure in underserved areas, the Associated Press reports. Biden launched the programme on 1 July, saying, ‘Getting broadband to every American is a priority for this administration.’ The USD4.7 billion investment is part of USD7.2 billion included in the federal stimulus package to improve rural internet access. The US Department of Commerce will consider applications for funding that propose to provide wired or wireless access starting at low-end DSL speeds, but will give priority to ones promising high speed access. An area qualifies as being ‘underserved’, and therefore eligible for grants, if half or fewer of households can get wired broadband today. Companies can apply to the scheme from 14 July and the first round of funding will be awarded in September this year.