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ESD announces launch of ConnectALL county partnerships program to build reliable & affordable high-speed internet


Tue, Apr 23rd 2024 03:40 pm

Program to award grants to eligible counties that have ready, partially funded plans to address their remaining unserved and underserved locations

√ Interested applicants can register for informational session to be held April 23 here; application available here

Empire State Development Press Release

Empire State Development announced applications are open for up to $50 million for county partnerships as part of the ConnectALL deployment program, which provides state-funded grants to address areas of the state that do not have access to reliable, affordable, high-speed internet service. The county partnerships funding is specifically for counties that have already conducted a competitive solicitation process to designate an internet service provider partner or partners to serve substantially all of the remaining unserved and underserved locations in the county, with both the county and the private partners contributing to the total cost.

ESD President CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight said, “The goal of the ConnectALL county partnership program is to build on efforts to address unserved and underserved locations through grants to counties, which offers another avenue to effectively provide affordable and reliable internet service to all New Yorkers.”

The ConnectALL deployment county partnerships program, like the ConnectALL municipal infrastructure program, builds on years of planning and effort on the part of local communities across the state. For the county partnerships, ConnectALL is drawing on state funding to accelerate the effort to connect all unserved and underserved locations across the state, which will primarily rely on federal funding that will not be available until 2025. The deadline for counties to apply for a county partnerships grant is May 10. ConnectALL expects to make awards this summer. ConnectALL will hold an information session webinar on April 23 at 1:30 p.m. for interested counties. Registration is available here. Applications are available through New York state’s consolidated funding application, linked here.

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 ConnectALL deployment program 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 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 from internet service providers and expressions of interest from low-income property owners here.

√ The municipal infrastructure program will utilize $228 million in federal funding to connect tens of thousands of homes statewide with publicly owned or publicly controlled open access broadband infrastructure. The request for applications is now available on the ConnectALL website, with the next round of applications due June 7.

√ The New York State Digital Equity Plan to improve digital literacy and digital job readiness skills, facilitate access to affordable internet and devices, enhance digital privacy and safety, and make government services more accessible through the internet. The plan is available for download here.

Empire State Development is New York’s chief economic development agency. For more information on Regional Councils and ESD, visit regionalcouncils.ny.gov and esd.ny.gov.

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