ANCHORAGE (AP) -- The U.S. Senate has approved a bill that would help pay for satellite delivery of local television and Internet service to rural areas.
Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens predicted Friday that Alaska companies would organize to develop a system for giving rural Alaskans access to satellite TV and high-speed Internet service.
The Senate legislation, which was approved Thursday on a 97-0 vote, would provide loan guarantees for satellite deliveries of local television programming in areas outside the largest 40 markets.
An amendment sponsored by Stevens ensures that Alaska and Hawaii would receive ''fair consideration'' in the approval of loans. The loan program is capped at $1.25 billion.
Similar legislation has cleared two House committees and is expected to be voted on soon by the full House.
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