New York State is set to receive $228.2 million in federal funds to expand high-speed Internet access to rural and underserved areas. The funding, part of the ConnectALL’s Municipal Infrastructure Program, aims to bridge the digital divide affecting various New York communities. Applications are currently open, focusing on areas that have long been disconnected from essential 21st-century technology. Governor Kathy Hochul, alongside U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, announced the initiative, highlighting its significance in providing universal access to broadband, deemed as essential as electricity in today’s digital world.
Eligibility for the program extends to public entities, municipal utilities, local or Tribal governments, utility cooperatives, and their private sector partners. The funds, originating from the American Rescue Plan’s capital projects fund, will be utilized to construct broadband infrastructure owned by public entities and accessible through Internet service providers. This step marks a significant move towards ensuring equitable Internet access across the state.
The initiative follows successful pilot projects in four upstate communities, connecting approximately 3,000 households. These projects demonstrate the New York Power Authority’s commitment to bridging the Internet access gap in economically challenging areas. Governor Hochul’s $1 billion ConnectALL Initiative, the state’s largest investment in broadband, aims to extend these efforts, bringing high-speed Internet to more homes, especially in affordable and public housing sectors. This initiative, building on the previous Broadband for All program, reinforces New York’s commitment to eliminating digital disparities and fostering connectivity for all.
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