As a part of the announcement this week, Verizon will receive more than $18.5 million to expand services to nearly 8,000 homes and businesses, according to the Federal Communications Commission.
(TNS) — The Federal Communications Commission authorized more than $39.2 million in federal funding over the next 10 years to expand broadband to homes in rural areas of New York.
The funding, which is part of the Connect America Fund and the New NY Broadband Program, will expand broadband to 26 rural counties in New York, bringing broadband to 15,442 homes and businesses, according to the FCC.
"Partnering with New York to expand broadband into unserved rural areas of the state was one of my first acts as chairman," said FCC Chairman Ajit Pai in a statement. "Closing the digital divide is the FCC's top priority, and I'm proud that this partnership will provide many rural New Yorkers with access to the opportunities that high-speed internet offers."
As a part of the announcement, Verizon will receive more than $18.5 million to expand services to nearly 8,000 homes and businesses at speeds of at least 100 megabits per second, according to the FCC. Among those homes and businesses, there are 840 in Herkimer County and 689 in Oneida County that will receive services.
The FCC requires that providers build out to 40 percent of the assigned homes and businesses within three years and then another 20 percent each year that follows. The buildout is expected to be completed by the end of year six, according to the FCC.
The federal funding from the Connect America Fund complements the $500 million New NY Broadband Program, which aims to provide faster, cheaper service to residents in need.
The New NY Broadband Program set a goal of access to speeds of 100 Mbps for all New Yorkers with 25 Mbps being acceptable in the most remote areas, according to the FCC.
As of the end of 2015, there were about 239,177 households across Upstate New York that did not have access to 25 Mbps service, according to New York state. According to the FCC, however, there were 78,245 households in Upstate New York.
U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer has been an advocate for the funding, pushing the FCC to provide funding to Upstate New York to expand broadband service. According to his office, the funding is part of a $170 million pot for the entire state that Schumer fought to secure in 2017, when the FCC tried to move it to other states.
"To build the vibrant Upstate New York economy of tomorrow that creates and sustains the jobs of the future, we must invest in high-speed internet access today, so that every upstate home, school or small business gets — and stays — connected," Schumer said in a statement. "With this multimillion-dollar investment, rural counties upstate will finally have the resources needed to close the far-too-large digital gap."
©2019 Observer-Dispatch, Utica, N.Y. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.