US president-elect, Barack Obama, has unveiled a massive $825bn fiscal stimulus package. Comprising $550bn in new federal spending and $275bn in tax cuts over the next two years, the objective is to create more than three million jobs.

Among the long list of projects in line for economic support – which includes spending on energy, transport infrastructure, education, health care, housing, aid to the unemployed and poor, and law enforcement – $17bn has been set aside for science and technology. And of that $17bn, $6bn is to be used in helping to bring high-speed internet access to rural and underserved areas.

Although a comparatively small amount in the bigger economic picture, the $6bn grant that is up for grabs could still be significant in helping WiMAX make deeper inroads into the US broadband markets.

However, the grant does come with some conditions attached. The House Appropriations Committee is reportedly to have said that “for every dollar invested in broadband, the economy sees a tenfold return on that investment”.

Moreover, public interest groups want tax-funded networks to be fully open – with no proprietary systems – but that chimes with the WiMAX philosophy anyway.