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$228M to launch New York's ConnectALL program to bring last mile fiber & high-speed internet to homes in underserved communities


Mon, Jan 22nd 2024 02:55 pm

Federally funded state grant program will provide grants to local government and private partners for new fiber construction projected to connect tens of thousands of homes statewide

√ Request for applications available here

Gov. Kathy Hochul, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer and House of Representatives Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries today announced New York state has been awarded $228.2 million in federal funding to launch New York’s ConnectALL municipal infrastructure program and connect tens of thousands of homes statewide to high-speed broadband internet. In addition, Hochul announced the completion of New York's municipal infrastructure pilot projects connecting more than 3,000 homes in four upstate communities to high-speed internet.

“New York’s ConnectALL initiative is delivering high-speed internet to thousands of families statewide, and this transformative federal investment will help us keep even more New Yorkers connected,” Hochul said. “Access to affordable, reliable broadband keeps New Yorkers working, empowers our students, and connects families to critical benefits and services, and I thank the Biden administration, Majority Leader Schumer, and the New York delegation for their partnership in our mission to give all New Yorkers the tools they need to thrive.”

Schumer said, “Over $228 million is on the way from the feds to help rural and underserved communities across New York install the last mile of broadband infrastructure needed to help thousands of homes finally get high-speed internet. This is how we can close the digital divide in upstate NY – by making sure high-speed internet reaches corner of the state regardless of ZIP code. Broadband is not a luxury, it is a necessity, a utility as vital as electricity for success in our modern economy to ensure people can stay connected, have access to health care, jobs and school. This is only the latest in hundreds of millions in federal funding from the American Rescue Plan and Bipartisan Infrastructure & Jobs Law that is helping the Empire State lead the nation in closing the digital divide. I am proud to work with Gov. Hochul to help put these federal dollars to help bring affordable and equitable high-speed internet for all New Yorkers.”

Jeffries said, “In New York and throughout America, there are far too many under-resourced communities without the ability to connect online and engage with family, work, school and telemedicine. Last Congress, working with President Biden, House Democrats passed the American Rescue Plan, which saved the economy from a deep recession and enacted life-changing policies. Democrats then passed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to ensure that every community nationwide has access to high-speed internet and invested $65 billion to expand broadband access. I thank Gov. Hochul, Leader Schumer and the New York congressional delegation for their work in bringing high-speed internet to every single New Yorker.”

Funding for ConnectALL’s municipal infrastructure program has been awarded through the U.S. Department of the Treasury under the American Rescue Plan’s capital projects fund. ConnectALL will make grants to public entities, local or Tribal governments, municipal utilities, utility cooperatives, and their private sector partners to construct new fiber to the premises for tens of thousands of properties statewide. Broadband infrastructure in the municipal infrastructure program will be owned by a public entity or publicly controlled, and internet service providers will use the new broadband infrastructure to provide New Yorkers with “affordable, high-quality” service options. 

The request for applications is now available on the ConnectALL website.

A state press release said, “The transformative investment follows the completion of the municipal infrastructure pilot projects, which demonstrated the transformative benefit of publicly owned, open access fiber optic networks. Open access networks can be used by multiple service providers, bringing consumer choice to underserved areas, and public ownership means broadband infrastructure is a basic utility available to all households in these communities.

“The pilot projects, led by the New York Power Authority, leveraged an initial $10 million investment from ConnectALL to fund municipal broadband projects in four upstate communities: the Village of Sherburne in Chenango County, the Town of Nichols in Tioga County, the Town of Diana in Lewis County and the Town of Pitcairn in St. Lawrence County. As of December 2023, all four projects have been completed, connecting more than 3,000 households to high-speed internet at prices below the regional average.”

Congressman Brian Higgins said, “Reliable, high-speed internet access is no longer a luxury, it is a necessity. From education and remote work to health care and more, broadband is a vital utility for all. Thanks to funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Gov. Hochul is making historic investments in communities across the state facing the greatest digital disparities. This is a critical step in closing gaps in access for people of all ages.”

Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight said, “We are committed to an inclusive economy, one that levels the playing field for all in New York state. We encourage applications to this program, which with this additional federal funding will deliver on a promise of access to affordable broadband that prioritizes thousands of unserved New Yorkers.”

New York Power Authority President and CEO Justin E. Driscoll said, "The Power Authority was honored to put our transmission system to work for dual purposes – energy transmission and internet access. Enabling internet access in rural areas where commercial providers could not make an economic case to do so was a challenge that was right up our alley as we pride ourselves on providing solutions that impact New Yorkers. We are grateful to have had the opportunity to develop the framework to help launch the critical ConnectALL state initiative and to provide the proof of principle and feasibility that will now enable the broader, expansive ConnectALL effort supported by this new federal funding.”

Hochul established the $1 billion ConnectALL initiative to close the state’s digital divide, transform digital infrastructure, and ensure that all New Yorkers have access to high-speed broadband internet service. 

The press release noted, “To date, ConnectALL has overseen the successful launch and implementation of several programs to advance broadband access, including:

√ “The affordable housing connectivity program to bring new broadband infrastructure to homes in affordable and public housing leveraging a $100 million federal investment from the U.S. Treasury Department’s capital projects fund. The program is currently accepting applications for internet service providers here.

√ “The ConnectALL deployment program to fund internet service providers to reach unserved and underserved locations, drawing on an allocation of $664.6 million in federal funding from the broadband equity, access, and deployment program, as described in the ConnectALL broadband deployment initial proposal and five-year action plan.

√ “The digital equity program leveraging a $50 million investment to promote digital literacy and other non-infrastructure barriers to internet adoption and use, as described in the New York digital equity plan.”

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