The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has awarded $6.9 million in grants for faster Internet connections at public libraries in seven states.
The grants announced Thursday will help libraries in Arkansas, California, Kansas, Massachusetts, New York, Texas and Virginia. The money goes to Connected Nation, a nonprofit broadband advocacy group, and the American Library Association.
The grants are seed money to help libraries attract long-term financial support for high-speed Internet access.
A recent report by the American Library Association shows that libraries are often the only source of free, public Web access in a community.
In the past 11 years, the Gates foundation has given $325 million in grants and computer equipment to U.S. libraries.