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NYS to receive $100 million to expand broadband infrastructure, provide high-quality internet to 100,000 underserved families & homes


Wed, Mar 29th 2023 07:50 pm

Funding comes from American Rescue Plan's $10 billion Capital Projects Fund to bring fast & affordable high-speed internet to underserved communities in rural, urban communities that lack critical service

Gov. Kathy Hochul, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer, and U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand announced New York state will receive $100 million in federal funding from the U.S. Department of Treasury through the American Rescue Plan to expand high-speed internet.

Hochul’s team said, “This is the largest targeted investment in affordable housing connectivity in the nation. New York estimates this funding will allow them to connect 100,000 homes and families to affordable, high-speed internet across the state.”

The governor said, "Affordable, reliable broadband access is essential to connect New Yorkers with work, education, and government services, but still out of reach for far too many families. This critical funding to unlock high-speed internet for thousands of New York renters will build on the success of our ConnectALL broadband initiative while supporting the goals our five-year plan to build and preserve more affordable housing. Thanks to the Biden administration and New York's Senate and congressional delegations, New York will continue to lead the nation in bridging the digital divide and making broadband available to all."

A press release stated, “The new federal investment comes from the $10 billion in the American Rescue Plan's Capital Projects Fund (CPF), a program designed to address the challenges exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly in rural America, Tribal communities, and low- and moderate-income communities. A key priority of the CPF is to make funding available to help ensure that all communities have access to high-quality modern infrastructure, including reliable, affordable high-speed broadband needed to access critical services. New York's Affordable Housing Connectivity Program is a competitive grant program designed to fund high-speed, reliable broadband infrastructure to and within low-income housing buildings. CPF funds will be used to upgrade internet access in affordable housing units.

“The plan submitted to Treasury and being approved today represents 29% of the state's total allocation under the Capital Project Funds program. New York submitted plans for the remainder of their Capital Project Funds, and these applications are currently under review by Treasury.

“Today's investment is also on top of the historic federal funding secured in the Bipartisan Infrastructure & Jobs Law, which included a record $65 billion for the expansion of high-speed internet to connect the unserved, make internet affordable, and provide resources for digital literacy.”

Last year, New York enrolled 1 million qualifying households in the federal Affordable Connectivity Program, a nationwide subsidy to expand broadband access to low-income households. The federal program, funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, provides discounts of up to $30 a month toward internet service for eligible low-income households.

The press release added, “In partnership with historic federal broadband funding, Gov. Hochul's $1.2 billion ConnectALL initiative has made significant investments in mapping and data collection; grant programs to support municipal open-access infrastructure, rural broadband projects and innovative service delivery pilots; broadband upgrades in affordable housing; reforms to streamline deployment and remove regulatory hurdles; and the development of a statewide digital equity plan and digital equity grant program. Congress passed the Broadband DATA Act to better show where New Yorker's lacked internet. Last year, the ConnectALL office supplemented the federal FCC broadband data by providing more than 31,000 addresses to help the better address the needs of New York communities unserved or underserved by broadband.”

Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight said, "Having reliable, accessible and affordable broadband is essential to our economy and our quality of life. This federal funding is a vital component of our ConnectALL program and will connect all New Yorkers, especially in communities that have historically been left behind."

New York State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, "Ultra-fast fiber internet – something that most of us take for granted – has skipped over far too many New Yorkers, leaving a digital gap that the governor's ConnectALL initiative will help to bridge. This generous, $100 million federal grant will speed the literal connections to 100,000 apartments, supplying fast, less-expensive, and high-quality internet directly to tenants. Regardless of whether a building already has broadband wiring, I encourage every owner of affordable housing who thinks they may be eligible to check our website to see if they can receive no-cost fiber-in-unit installations, courtesy of vetted, qualified internet providers."

New York State Association for Affordable Housing President and CEO Jolie Milstein said, "The affordable housing industry has long recognized that it can play a key role in closing the digital divide, and this funding will help us realize that goal. Bringing broadband to underserved residents who are tenants of our members' buildings across the state has been a significant focus for NYSAFAH. We welcome the announcement of these critical resources, and look forward to ensuring they are invested to provide connectivity to the greatest number of New Yorkers in need."

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