The U.S. government will soon release $4 billion in loans and grants aimed at expanding broadband access across the United States, officials said on Wednesday.

The funds are part of a $7.2 billion program to build an affordable high-speed Internet structure in rural areas. The project is being pushed by President Barack Obama seeking to shore up the U.S. economy with job creation in the telecommunications sector.

This funding is a down payment on the President's commitment to bring the educational and economic benefits of the Internet to all communities, Vice President Joe Biden said in a statement.

The broadband program was tucked into a $787 billion fiscal stimulus package Obama signed into law in February.

Applications for loans and grants will be accepted starting on July 14 and will continue through August 14. Details of the funding process can be found at

(Reporting by John Poirier; Editing by Derek Caney)