ALBANY, N.Y., Dec. 26 -- Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D-N.Y., issued the following news release:
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced Empire State Development (ESD) has approved more than $14.5 million in New York State Broadband Grants to support nine projects that will expand access to broadband services for nearly 30,000 residents and more than 2,000 businesses across Upstate New York, including in the Capital Region, Western New York, Finger Lakes, Southern Tier, Central New York, North Country and Mohawk Valley regions. This includes the first broadband grants to be approved from the Governor's $25 million Connect NY Broadband Grant program and the Regional Economic Development Council Awards, which when completed will represent significant progress in expanding broadband services to the more than 500,000 unserved or underserved New Yorkers across the state.
"Access to high speed internet is a critical resource for businesses and residents in today's global economy," Governor Cuomo said. "These grants will connect underserved and rural communities to the many benefits of broadband access, including giving local businesses the opportunity to reach consumers from around the world. As the State works to grow the Upstate economy, these nine projects will provide the support necessary to attract and retain businesses and help create jobs for the region."
The State is committed to accelerating the availability, affordability, and utilization of broadband technologies in order to grow New York's economy. Access to the numerous benefits of broadband access, such as e-commerce, e-government, telemedicine and distance learning will result in job creation, improved healthcare, greater educational opportunities for students and teachers, and enhanced economic development.
The following nine projects are receiving New York State Broadband Grants:
* Open Access Fiber Network (Yates County) - $2,407,049
* Clarity Connect, Inc. - Tompkins and Cayuga Ubiquitous Last Mile Coverage (Various Counties) - $2,216,000
* Slic Network Solutions, Inc. - Schroon Lake Next Generation Broadband (Essex County) - $2,162,656
* New Visions Communications - Parish Broadband (Oswego County) - $1,999,584
* MTC Cable - MTC Broadband Build Out (Various Counties) - $1,800,000
* Slic Network Solutions, Inc. - Bellmont North Next Generation Broadband (Franklin County) - $1,012,366
* Slic Network Solutions, Inc. - Lyon Mountain Broadband (Clinton County) - $976,426
* Southern Tier West Development Foundation - Southern Tier Broadband (Various Counties) - $672,452
* Slic Network Solutions, Inc. - Long Lake Next Generation Broadband (Hamilton County) - $1,370,306
Together, these nine projects will deliver broadband services to 29,117 households, 2,052 businesses, and 236 community anchor institutions, and will provide 614 miles of new fiber.
Most of the grant funding will be for the "last-mile" of broadband service, which means the projects will provide high speed internet connections directly to New Yorkers. The last-mile is the most expensive portion of a broadband network, and often prevents many rural residents from receiving broadband service, even when service is available to nearby homes.
"These critical investments in expanding broadband are bringing us closer to providing all New Yorkers and businesses with access to the information superhighway," said Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Kenneth Adams. "High-speed internet is a powerful tool for economic development, enabling businesses to access and connect to markets across the state and around the world. These projects will make our businesses stronger and New York more competitive in the national and international markets, and result in greater economic opportunities and more jobs for New Yorkers."
Recognizing that broadband services are vital to growing the state's economy, in September 2012, Governor Cuomo committed $25 million in funding to expand high-speed internet access in rural upstate and underserved urban areas through the Connect NY Broadband Grant Program.
The $25 million Connect NY awards, combined with additional funding through the Regional Economic Development Councils (REDC) to advance broadband technologies and services - including an additional $11 million through Round III of the REDC awards - brings the total amount of funding awarded for broadband projects during Governor Cuomo's administration to more than $68 million. The commitments made by the Cuomo administration through Connect NY and the REDCs represent the largest direct investment of state funding into expanding broadband access in the United States.
With more than 500,000 New Yorkers unable to access broadband, and another six million citizens facing significant obstacles to internet connectivity, expanding high-speed internet was identified by the REDCs as a key priority to stimulate local business growth. Broadband internet grants, such as Connect NY, both spur investment by service providers in communities and help boost economic development in each region by expanding the ability of local businesses to reach consumers globally.
The grants are awarded in the regions to internet service companies and in partnership with local governments and economic development organizations.
Empire State Development (ESD) is New York's chief economic development agency (www.esd.ny.gov). The mission of ESD is to promote a vigorous and growing economy, encourage the creation of new job and economic opportunities, increase revenues to the State and its municipalities, and achieve stable and diversified local economies. Through the use of loans, grants, tax credits and other forms of financial assistance, ESD strives to enhance private business investment and growth to spur job creation and support prosperous communities across New York State. ESD is also the primary administrative agency overseeing Governor Cuomo's Regional Economic Development Councils and the marketing of "I Love NY," the State's iconic tourism brand. For more information on Regional Councils and Empire State Development, visit www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov and www.esd.ny.gov.
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