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ESD: ConnectALL challenge period begins March 19


Thu, Feb 29th 2024 07:30 pm

Challenge Portal open for public comment on locations to be eligible for grants for new broadband service from ConnectALL deployment program

√ Updates projections for full broadband deployment in state to fewer than 100,000 locations

Submitted by Empire State Development 

Empire State Development (ESD) announced the opening of the ConnectALL Office's New York State Broadband Challenge Portal for residents, local governments, nonprofits and internet service providers to help New York state fine tune which locations could be eligible for new broadband service grants. Through the Challenge Portal, residents can run speed tests, and then share the results to suggest eligibility. Internet service providers, government entities, and nonprofit organizations can use the Challenge Portal to register for the formal challenge process, which ConnectALL will launch on March 19.

ESD President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight said, “Gov. Hochul launched ConnectALL to not only bring high speed internet to all New Yorkers, but to also ensure that it is equitable and affordable in every community across the state. This is the latest step by ESD’s ConnectALL office to close the digital divide and further provide the tools New Yorkers need to thrive and succeed in the 21st century economy.”

ConnectALL will be holding webinars for nonprofit organizations, government entities, and internet service providers on how to use the challenge portal. Information on those webinars can be found on the ConnectALL website: https://broadband.ny.gov. Only those entities can submit formal challenges to change the eligibility status of a location, but members of the public can use the comment process to provide speed tests and other information that can be used in a formal challenge.

ESD has also determined that just over 95,000 locations remain unserved or underserved and are eligible for the ConnectALL deployment program based on current federal and state data. The new number is less than two-thirds of the nearly 150,000 locations previously analyzed in the ConnectALL five-year action plan. The decline is based on a thorough analysis of the federal maps and collaboration with internet service providers, county and local governments, and federal agencies by the ConnectALL office to resolve inaccuracies and remove locations that are subject to existing, enforceable grant commitments to receive service.

Based on these new numbers, the ConnectALL office has updated its cost assessment to reach all locations with new broadband service to a range of $650 million to $1 billion. This aligns with the total funding available for the state’s broadband deployment program, based on the federal allocation of approximately $664.6 million under the broadband equity, access, and deployment program, plus a commitment of at least $50 million from the state and a required 25% match from the internet service providers. Nearly all the new connections are expected to be with fiber optic infrastructure. The ConnectALL office expects fewer than 5,000 of the locations eligible for this program – or approximately 0.1% of the 4.7 million locations in the state – to be served solely by fixed wireless or satellite technology following completion of the ConnectALL deployment program.

The final number of locations is subject to change as the ConnectALL office continues to analyze the map and proceed with the formal challenge process. The number of eligible locations – those that have no service or service below 100 Mbps download and 20 Mbps upload – may increase or decrease depending on the nature of the challenges and their resolution. ConnectALL will submit the final list of locations to NTIA for approval before opening the ConnectALL deployment program request for applications, currently expected in June. 

New York's ConnectALL Initiative

Hochul established the $1 billion ConnectALL Initiative – New York’s largest-ever investment in broadband access – to close the state’s digital divide, transform digital infrastructure, and ensure that all New Yorkers have access to reliable and affordable high-speed broadband internet service. To date, ConnectALL has overseen the successful launch and implementation of several programs to advance broadband access, including: the affordable housing connectivity program, the federally funded municipal infrastructure program, the ConnectALL deployment program, and the digital equity program.

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