Governor Cuomo Announces Historic Investment to Bridge NY's Digital Divide

  • Connect NY
ALBANY, NY - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that New York State will award $25 million in funding to expand high-speed Internet access in rural upstate and underserved urban areas of New York through the Connect NY Broadband Grant Program. This award brings the total amount of funding awarded for broadband projects during Governor Cuomo’s administration to more than $56 million, the largest statewide broadband funding commitment in the nation.

Eighteen broadband projects were selected to receive Connect NY Broadband grants based on the endorsement of the Regional Councils and technical scores awarded by a committee who analyzed and ranked projects competing for the $25 million in broadband funding. In December, Governor Cuomo also awarded nearly $6 million in funding, from Round 2 of the Regional Economic Development Council initiative, to four project sponsors who will expand high-speed Internet into the North Country region.

"Through the Connect NY program, we are bringing high-speed Internet access to all corners of New York State," Governor Cuomo said. "The projects receiving these grants represent the very best proposals with the most potential to benefit statewide economic and community development efforts. These funds will strengthen New York’s broadband capacity and encourage sustainable adoption of broadband service in unserved and underserved communities, counties and regions across the state."

Together, these projects will build approximately 6,000 square miles of new infrastructure and will provide high-speed Internet service to 153,000 New York households, 8,000 businesses, and 400 community anchor institutions – many without any means to access the Internet. In addition to the vast economic benefits derived from broadband access, the projects being funded by Connect NY will create 1,400 new jobs. Most of the funding will be for the “last-mile” of broadband service, which means the projects will provide high speed Internet connections directly to New Yorkers. The last mile is the most expensive portion of a broadband network, and often prevents many rural residents from receiving broadband service, even when service is available to nearby homes.

Leveraging Existing Networks
The Connect NY program was designed to leverage existing networks which have been built by incumbent broadband providers, through private investments, other state and federal funding sources. An important component to the selection of projects was avoiding “overbuilds,” ensuring project strategies leveraged existing network assets and requiring a comprehensive strategy to utilize broadband after projects were completed.

The $25 million in state funding will be combined with a private sector investment for each broadband project, increasing the total statewide investment to more than $32 million. Governor Cuomo announced the $25 million Connect NY grant program in August in an effort to promote broadband Internet access across the state, strengthen our communities and spur economic development. More than $89 million in broadband applications were submitted through New York State’s consolidated funding application (CFA), which was created to give businesses and other entities streamlined and expedited access to economic development funding.

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