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Hochul issues New York state challenge to FCC broadband data


Mon, Oct 31st 2022 04:05 pm

New York's ConnectALL program submits more than 31,000 missing unserved or underserved address locations to inform federal broadband data and mapping

√ Follows launch of state’s first-of-its-kind, address-level broadband mapping project

Gov. Kathy Hochul on Monday announced New York's ConnectALL office has submitted over 31,000 addresses from across the state to the Federal Communications Commission under the broadband data collection challenge process.

Hochul’s team said, “The federal challenge process, which allows states to propose changes or updates to the FCC's broadband maps, helps to better locate areas unserved or underserved by broadband. In doing so, these proposed changes inform federal funding decisions regarding broadband access and help to ensure that high-speed internet is available at every address in the country.”

The governor said, "Affordable, reliable broadband is an absolute necessity for accessing work, education, and important government services, and we can no longer afford to treat it like a luxury. Thanks to our first-of-its-kind broadband mapping tool, we have a clearer picture than ever about New York's broadband needs, and we are better able to advocate for federal funding and program support to fill those gaps. My administration remains committed to ensuring that families and businesses are well-connected to broadband, and I look forward to a continued partnership with local, state and federal authorities to make high-speed internet available to all New Yorkers."

Hochul’s team said, “The Commerce Department is expected to begin disbursing broadband funding from the IIJA to states and territories in late 2023 based largely on the proportion of unserved and underserved homes and businesses in each state, using maps created by the FCC. The FCC has begun by issuing a ‘map fabric’ that is meant to include all addresses in the country, which they shared with all states and other stakeholders to challenge and improve.

“This challenge was made possible due to New York's first-of-its-kind, interactive broadband map launched earlier this year, which contains detailed information of the state's broadband infrastructure down to the street-level. The challenge process is a critical step in determining New York's funding allocation for broadband from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA).

“ConnectALL will continue to analyze the FCC maps. The 31,798 records in the state's challenge are all among the 138,598 addresses identified as unserved or underserved by the Department of Public Service's (DPS) broadband assessment program and include evidence that they meet the FCC's definition for inclusion in the federal map. The ConnectALL office collaborated with DPS and the Office of Information Technology Services (ITS) to analyze and challenge the FCC maps.

Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight said, "As we look to make broadband more affordable, accessible and equitable, accurate maps are essential for the proper allocation of federal funding. New York state's broadband mapping project provides clear and straightforward data on the state's digital infrastructure and, by aligning the FCC maps with ours, we will ensure New York gets its fair share of federal dollars so every New Yorker has access to the internet when and where they need it."

Office of Information Technology Services Commissioner Chief Information Officer Angelo “Tony” Riddick said, "Accessible and reliable broadband that is affordable for all has never been more important than it is today. Whether it is enabling employees to work from anywhere, helping students learn and grow, providing training opportunities that allow individuals to further enhance our state, or giving parents the ability to access the critical services they need to care for their families, high-speed internet service has become an essential tool for every New Yorker. I commend Gov. Hochul for making increased broadband a state priority, working to close the gaps that exist, and aggressively fighting to do even more on behalf of all New York residents."

Hochul’s team said, “The initial map produced by New York's Broadband Assessment Program was the result of months of field assessments conducted by the Public Service Commission in the state's most remote areas, covering more than 80,000 miles. In order to collect accurate data, the commission collaborated with 60 internet service providers and surveyed tens of thousands of New York consumers in continuing to collect broadband availability data from internet service providers and directly from New Yorkers to refine its map.

“Prior to the creation of New York's Broadband Assessment Program, New York, like most states, relied in part on federal data that only required broadband providers to deliver service to one address in a census block to designate the entire area as served. By collecting address-level data, New York is able to depict what locations are served, underserved, and unserved in a more granular way, which will aid in allocating state and federal funding.

“Without this challenge, and unless the FCC updates its map, it will not be possible for the FCC to recognize those locations in New York as lacking broadband service, and the state would miss out on much-needed funding.

“The ConnectALL challenge could increase New York's eligibility for a key source of IIJA funding by as much as 40% depending on the FCC's and Commerce Department's determinations. The ConnectALL office, along with DPS and the state's team of GIS analysts, is continuing to analyze the FCC data to identify further potential challenges and is preparing to evaluate broadband availability data once the FCC releases that to the states.”

Hochul announced the $1 billion ConnectALL initiative to boost New York's broadband and digital infrastructure in her 2022 state of the state address. The initiative includes grant programs to provide funding to local municipalities and other entities to plan, engineer and construct accessible broadband infrastructure, a rural deployment program to extend broadband networks to unserved and underserved homes and businesses, a digital equity program to ensure equitable access to broadband statewide, and other innovative programs. In May, the governor announced a $10 million investment by the ConnectALL office in target areas where existing state-owned fiber can create a fiber bridge between large data centers (first mile) and individual homes (last mile), primarily in rural areas that are not serviced by private broadband providers. 

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