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$14.5M in NTIA Funds to Expand Internet in Northeast

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer and U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand announced a more than $14.5 million investment to expand broadband access across the north country region.

(TNS) — The Development Authority of the North Country (DANC) will receive a $14,547,750 investment to significantly expand broadband access across the north country region, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Sen. Kirsten E. Gillibrand announced Friday.

The funding is available through the National Telecommunications and Information Administration's (NTIA) Middle Mile Broadband Infrastructure Grant Program, created and funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA).

The senators said in a statement that this critical funding will expand nearly 350 miles of broadband fibers across Upstate New York, particularly in the north country, to increase high-speed Internet access for thousands of families, and help close the digital divide for hundreds of vital community anchors from hospitals to schools.

"Long before the pandemic, rural and urban communities across Upstate ( New York), and especially in the north country, have struggled with access to reliable and affordable high-speed Internet," Sen. Schumer said in the statement. "When I led the Bipartisan Infrastructure & Jobs Law to passage, I said it would be game changing for places like the north country and now I am proud to deliver this major $14+ million investment to expand high-speed Internet access for thousands of households, businesses and vital community anchors."

"Limited access to reliable high-speed Internet makes it harder for kids to do their homework, for seniors to access telehealth appointments, and for workers to take advantage of remote employment opportunities," Sen. Gillibrand said. "High-quality Internet is no longer a luxury — it is a necessity for everyday life."

With this multi-million dollar federal grant, DANC and National Grid will partner to build new fiber optic infrastructure, enabling Internet Service Providers to connect currently unserved and underserved Upstate New York communities with access to high-speed Internet. The $14 million grant will help construct over 340 miles of middle mile fiber across 12 Northern New York counties: Jefferson, Lewis, St. Lawrence, Franklin, Hamilton, Essex, Herkimer, Oswego, Oneida, Onondaga, Fulton and Montgomery. The grant is expected to help expand access to an estimated nearly 2,500 unserved residences and more than 280 community anchor institutions, such as fire stations, libraries and health care providers across the upstate region.

" The Development Authority of the North Country is excited to learn that our project to expand critical broadband infrastructure across rural areas of Northern New York has been funded," said Carl E. Farone Jr., executive director of DANC. "The 344 miles of new middle mile fiber optic cable will enable broadband service to approximately 2,500 unserved residences and 287 community anchor institutions. Without the partnership with National Grid and funding from NTIA, this project would not be possible."

"This award from NTIA is a win-win for New York," said Rudy Wynter, president of National Grid, New York. "Our project with DANC will help address two issues with one solution — it will help bridge the digital divide that has left many rural areas without broadband access, while enhancing the critical electrical infrastructure on which so many depend."

DANC will design, construct, own and operate an expected 275 miles of new fiber and associated electronics. Northland, a private Internet Service Provider, will design, construct, own and operate an expected 60 miles of fiber in Fulton, Herkimer and Montgomery counties. Sixty percent of the proposed project costs will be funded through the NTIA grant, and 40% will be funded by National Grid.

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