Outlines state’s goals and priorities for $664 million allocation for broadband deployment
√ Link to plan here
Empire State Development’s (ESD) ConnectALL Office released its five-year action plan, which was approved by the U.S. Department of Commerce National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and lays out a broad framework for the implementation of New York’s allocation of $664 million from the Broadband Equity Access and Deployment (BEAD) program. The plan, required under the federal program, describes how to most effectively invest New York’s allocation in ways that will attract private investment and reach unserved and underserved locations with a mix of fiber optic and wireless internet technologies.
Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight said, “Investments in ensuring New York has affordable, equitable and reliable broadband throughout the entire state is vital to our economic success. This five-year plan outlines how to best capitalize on the federal funding New York state has been allocated and allows us to continue our efforts to bridge the gap for unserved and underserved areas across the state.”
A press release stated, “This comprehensive plan aligns with Gov. Hochul’s commitment to affordable, reliable, accessible broadband for all residents across the state by prioritizing BEAD funding for ESD’s ConnectALL Deployment and Rural Broadband Program, which will provide grants to internet service providers to bring service to unserved locations in the state and addresses how to complement these grants with other investments to increase consumer choice and promote broadband adoption.
“Additionally, the plan presents initial results from the ConnectALL Office’s digital equity survey of New York residents, which surveyed more than 5,700 people across every region of the state, was conducted from May to July 2023, and was the first ever comprehensive assessment of the digital divide in New York, encompassing both infrastructure and non-infrastructure barriers to broadband adoption.”
It noted findings from the survey reveal that New Yorkers in urban and rural areas face many of the same challenges in getting online:
•Both rural and urban respondents of the survey have difficulty paying for the internet each month in addition to their monthly expenses; 44% of urban respondents indicated difficulty paying, and 41% of rural respondents indicated difficulty paying.
•The survey demonstrated that accessibility of internet-enabled devices is close to equal among respondents from urban and rural geographies; 9.5% of urban respondents and 10.4% of rural respondents said that they did not have access to internet-enabled devices they needed at home.
•Regardless of their background, New Yorkers are concerned about their safety and security online. On average, nearly 90% of respondents reported feeling either somewhat concerned or very concerned about their online safety.
ESD’s ConnectALL Office will address these challenges through a digital equity grant program and will present the full results of the study and the details of that program in a digital equity plan, which it will make available for public comment this fall.
The press release added, “The BEAD five-year action plan also notes that the cost of building new fiber infrastructure to the 114,377 unserved addresses identified by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) would be $1.9 billion. ESD’s ConnectALL Office is now working on a detailed proposal to NTIA, which will be put out for public comment in the fall and will describe how to most effectively invest the $664 million to attract private investment and reach those locations with a mix of fiber optic and wireless technologies.”