Funding will be awarded in 2024-25 to bring broadband infrastructure to unserved and underserved locations across state
√ Empire State Development's ConnectALL office is currently developing plans for broadband and digital equity based on ‘unprecedented public input’
Gov. Kathy Hochul, Sen. Chuck Schumer, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and the New York congressional delegation today announced New York state's ConnectALL office has been allocated more than $664 million in funding from the federal Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment program, part of the 2021 “Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.” The BEAD allocation is the largest single investment in the ConnectALL program and will be used primarily for providing fiber optic infrastructure to locations in New York that currently have no broadband service.
"This transformative investment in New York's ConnectALL program will be a gamechanger in advancing our statewide strategy to make affordable, high-speed internet available to all," Hochul said. "In today's economy, reliable broadband access is an absolute necessity, and I thank the Biden administration, Majority Leader Schumer, Sen. Gillibrand, and New York's congressional delegation for continuing to prioritize critical infrastructure needs and for supporting our mission to expand broadband to every corner of our state."
A press release stated, “The $1 billion-plus ConnectALL initiative, announced by Gov. Hochul in her January 2022 State of the State address, is New York state's largest-ever public investment in broadband, aimed at transforming the state's digital infrastructure to connect all New Yorkers to the internet. In addition to funding to reach unserved and underserved locations, ConnectALL includes grant programs to invest in public broadband infrastructure, to upgrade service to affordable and public housing, and to support digital inclusion and education on using the internet.”
New York will submit an initial grant distribution proposal to President Joe Biden's National Telecommunication and Information Administration (NTIA). Following approval of the initial proposal, the ConnectALL office will solicit applications from internet service providers to build new broadband infrastructure in unserved and underserved areas of the state. That package of applications will be included in New York's final proposal to NTIA, after which the state will receive its full BEAD allocation to issue grant awards.
The BEAD allocation follows a $100 million award from the Treasury Department's Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund announced by the governor in May, and two planning grants totaling over $7 million announced in December.
The BEAD allocation is based largely on New York's portion of the nation's unserved locations, as reported by the Federal Communications Commission. The FCC's map originally showed New York had 106,290 unserved locations. In October 2022, “Hochul issued a challenge to the FCC's broadband data maps, which revealed more than 31,000 underserved and unserved locations missing from the FCC's data, following a statewide mobilization of regional, county and local officials, and New York's own, first-of-its-kind interactive broadband map. In May, the FCC released updated data including over 140,000 unserved locations in New York and nearly 38,000 locations that have access to the minimal level of internet speeds to qualify as underserved.”
Schumer said, "Thanks to the ‘Bipartisan Infrastructure & Jobs Law’ we passed, a historic nearly $670 million is now on its way to expand broadband infrastructure and boost high-quality internet access across New York. Whether it is for work, school, or getting the health care you need, access to the internet is not luxury, but a necessity for modern life. Long before the pandemic, communities across New York, from rural communities upstate to bustling city neighborhoods, have struggled to obtain reliable high-speed internet service. I am proud to deliver this record setting nearly $670 million for New York to help finally close the digital divide. New York, under Gov. Hochul's leadership, is leading the charge to get all New Yorkers the equitable access to the internet they deserve, and this major federal investment will help finally give our communities the support they need to succeed in the 21st century."
Gillibrand said, "Access to affordable, high-quality internet is critical to connect New Yorkers with work, health care, education and more. This funding will go directly toward bridging the digital divide and deliver high-speed internet to families across New York state. I am proud to have worked to deliver this funding through the ‘Bipartisan Infrastructure Law,’ and I will continue to fight so every New Yorker has access to reliable, high-quality internet."
Congressman Brian Higgins said, "High-speed internet access is a necessity, not a luxury for New Yorkers of all ages. From school work, to telehealth, accessing government services, applying to jobs, working from home, and more, at-home internet access has become a daily utility. Unfortunately, the FCC's broadband maps reveal significant gaps in access to service, a challenge that many Western New Yorkers understand. Thanks to investments made by the ‘Bipartisan Infrastructure Law,’ we are taking another step toward providing communities with optimal broadband infrastructure that will ensure that families have the reliable and equitable internet access they need each day to work, live and educate their children."
Congressman Paul Tonko said, "Even as the COVID pandemic has made remote work and school a new normal for many of us, too many Americans, particularly in rural communities, still lack reliable access to the internet. That's why I've been proud to champion efforts to bring broadband access to these unserved and underserved areas, helping to deliver millions in federal funding through my ACCESS BROADBAND Act and the American Rescue Plan. Now, with this critical infusion of funding from our ‘Bipartisan Infrastructure Law,’ we are continuing to build the infrastructure that communities across our state and our nation need to thrive."
Other ConnectALL Initiatives
The press release noted, “the ConnectALL office is gathering an unprecedented level of community input to inform its broadband work. ConnectALL recently completed a three-month, statewide tour of 10 digital equity listening sessions to inform the development of the BEAD five-year action plan, the BEAD initial proposal, and the State Digital Equity Plan. ConnectALL will continue to meet with community stakeholders, coalitions and statewide networks, including through the New York State Internet Access Survey, which closes on June 30. ConnectALL will make the New York State Digital Equity Plan available for public comment in September.
“In addition, New York state continues to drive nation-leading enrollment in the federal Affordable Connectivity Program, a nationwide subsidy to expand broadband access to low-income households. New York has enrolled more than 1.3 million households in the program as a result of a multiagency, multipronged outreach effort led by the New York State Department of Public Service and Empire State Development.”
Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight said, "Investing in our broadband connectivity is investing in economic development. By collaborating with communities, our local governments and stakeholders, we can close the digital divide, grow our digital infrastructure, and bring affordable and equitable broadband to all New Yorkers."