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.
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.
The grants are awarded in the regions to internet service companies and in partnership with local governments and economic development organizations.
Companies included in this round of funding are: Open Access Fiber Network; Slic Network Solutions, Inc.; New Visions Communications; MTC Cable, and Southern Tier West Development Foundation.
“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.”