ANCHORAGE - 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.