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State awards money for broadband

ALBANY--Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the $6.6 million New York Broadband Program round II grants Wednesday, Feb. 28. The grants will provide 1,717 homes with high-speed broadband in the Finger Lakes region.
Cuomo explained the importance of these grants, saying, "Broadband is today what electricity was nearly a century ago--essential to creating economic opportunity, driving innovation and an absolute necessity for our way of life. These awards will provide homes and businesses with access to the high-speed internet required to participate and succeed in the modern economy..."
In Yates County the towns of Potter, Barrington, Italy, Middlesex and Jerusalem will receive $2,613,362 in state grants. The money goes directly to the broadband providers.
In Schuyler County, the towns of Orange, Hector, Reading, Montour and Catharine will receive state grants of $965,957 for a total investment of $1,207,136. The money goes directly to the broadband providers. Hector, Orange and Reading will be served by Haefele. Empire Telephone will serve Catharine, Cayta, Dix, Hector, Montour, Odessa and Orange while Frontier Telephone will serve Tyrone.
In total, round II will drive $268 million in public-private investment and will support a total of 54 projects that will reach 89,514 homes and institutions in unserved and underserved communities. Round II awards will ensure that 98 percent of New Yorkers will have access to the high-speed broadband required to succeed in a modern economy.
This $500 million program that began in 2015 targets unserved and underserved areas of the state with priority to unserved areas, libraries and educational opportunity centers. An "unserved" area is defined as an area where the fastest available advertised internet download speed offered by a wireline-based provider is less than 25 Mbps. An "underserved" area is defined as an area where broadband service is only available from a wireline-based provider at advertised internet download speeds between 25 Mbps and 99 Mbps. The program is the largest and most ambitious state investment in broadband in the nation with the goal of achieving statewide broadband access in New York by the end of 2018.
The Broadband Program Office is currently finalizing a Request for Proposals for the program's upcoming round III which will launch within 30 days. This round will seek to complete the program's goal of bringing high-speed internet access to New York's remaining unserved and underserved communities. Round III will be complemented by $170 million in Connect America Funds, which was recently allocated to New York State by the Federal Communications Commission.

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