The Senate adopted an economic stimulus package on Tuesday that provides $7 billion for the deployment, adoption and mapping of broadband services, and an additional $110 million in tax credits for carriers and other firms that deploy or upgrade broadband services and infrastructure. Adopted 61-37, the amended American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) slashes by $2 billion the amount of broadband spending proposed in the version of the ARRA ratified earlier by the Senate Appropriations Committee. (By contrast, the ARRA as passed by the House last month provides only $6 billion for broadband.) Specifically, the bill passed on Tuesday designates $250 million of its envisioned $7 billion broadband outlay for “competitive grants for innovative programs to encourage sustainable adoption of broadband service” as well as $200 million for the expansion of “public computer center capacity, including at community colleges and public libraries.” Like the House version, the amended Senate bill provides $350 million in funding for broadband mapping projects that would be administered by the NTIA. Approximately $100 million (or half the amount earmarked in the bill as passed by the Senate Appropriations Committee) is slated for broadband distance learning and telemedicine services in rural areas, while an additional $100 million (again, half the amount designated by Appropriations) to be allocated for the development of “a nationwide integrated wireless network supporting federal law enforcement.” Tax credits equaling 10% or 20% of a company’s expenditures would be provided for companies that deploy current-generation broadband services of at least 5 Mbps downstream/1 Mbps upstream or next-generation services of at least 100 Mbps downstream/20 Mbps upstream, respectively. House and Senate conferees, including House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-HI), the former chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, are working to reconcile the two ARRA bill versions with the goal of sending final legislation to President Obama by week’s end. As Qwest Communications Vice President Steve Davis termed the Senate’s action as “the right measure to immediately stimulate broadband deployment to unserved areas,” President Obama, in a speech before a town hall audience, stressed the importance of “building new high-speed broadband lines, [and] reaching schools and small businesses in rural [areas] so they can connect and compete with their counterparts in any city in any country in the world.”