Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced up to $170 million in federal funding to expand broadband access in Upstate New York. The federal funding was allocated through the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Connect America Fund to expand broadband deployment in underserved rural areas.
“Reliable, fast internet access should not be a luxury, it’s a necessity in the 21st century economy,” said Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. “Lack of affordable broadband service cuts off families and businesses from critical services. These federal funds combined with additional state funds will give our rural communities in Upstate New York greater access to the resources they need to get online and stay competitive in our digital economy, and I was proud to fight for this investment.”
Senator Gillibrand actively called on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to approve the New York State waiver submitted for use of the funding through the Connect America Fund (CAF) in an effort to make high-speed internet service available to all New Yorkers. These funds were made available when Verizon declined to accept the allocation through the last CAF disbursement, denying the rural areas through New York State that are served by Verizon the CAF funds needed to build out improved broadband service. Last May, Gillibrand requested the FCC award these unclaimed funds to New York State.
Last year, Gillibrand introduced the Broadband Connections for Rural Opportunities Program Act, bipartisan legislation that would help close the broadband gap in rural areas to help ensure that all New Yorkers have access to high-speed Internet. The bill would expand resources available for building high-speed broadband infrastructure by creating a new program to combine grants and loans to help finance projects serving rural and tribal areas.