Press Release

Schumer, Gillibrand Deliver Major $14+ Million Grant To Expand Broadband For The North Country From The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, Bringing High-Speed Internet Access To Thousands Of Homes, Biz, And Community Anchors To Close The Digital Divide

Jun 16, 2023

Senators Says Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Funding Will Expand Nearly 350 Miles Of Broadband Fiber In The North Country, CNY And The Mohawk Valley, To Bring High-Speed Internet To Underserved Communities

Schumer, Gillibrand: The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Is Helping Close The Digital Divide In The North Country!

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced that the Development Authority of the North Country (DANC) will receive a major $14,547,750 investment through the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (NTIA) Middle Mile Broadband Infrastructure Grant Program to significantly expand broadband access in the region. The program, created and funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), the senators said, that this critical funding will expand nearly 350 miles of broadband fibers across Upstate NY, 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 NY, and especially in the North Country, have struggled with access to reliable and affordable high-speed internet. 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,” said Senator Schumer. This investment is about more than just faster internet – it’s about building a stronger, more resilient economy in the North Country- connecting families to vital resources like tele-health and online education, and ensuring our communities can be fully connected to the 21st century. This is only the beginning of funding to expand high-speed internet access from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for Upstate NY and I will keep fighting to ensure every New Yorker has access to the fast, reliable internet they need.”

“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,” said Senator Gillibrand. “High-quality internet is no longer a luxury – it is a necessity for everyday life. This $14.5 million in funding will bring broadband to communities across the North Country that have lacked access for years and will  spur economic growth, improve quality of life for New York families, and bring us one step closer to closing the digital divide once and for all.”

 “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 the Development Authority of the North Country. “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.  I would like to thank Senators Schumer and Gillibrand for their support in securing this critical grant funding for northern New York.” 

“This award from NTIA is a win-win for 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,” said Rudy Wynter, President of National Grid, New York. “We thank the NTIA for this award and sincerely appreciate the support of Sen. Schumer and our entire congressional delegation. We excited to get to work and bring real benefits to our customers and communities.”

With this multi-million dollar federal grant, the DANC and the National Grid will partner to build new fiber optic infrastructure, enabling Internet Service Providers (ISPs), to connect currently unserved and underserved Upstate New York communities with access to high-speed internet they deserve. 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. Specifically, the grant is expected to help expand access to an estimated nearly 2,500 unserved residences and 280+ community anchor institutions, such as fire stations, libraries, and health care providers across Upstate NY.

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

The senators explained that the Middle Mile Broadband Infrastructure Grant Program received historic new funding of $1 billion through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law making toady’s award possible. The grant program expands and extends middle mile infrastructure to reduce the cost of connecting areas that are unserved or underserved to major networks. The over $14 million that the North Country received will be used for a public-private partnership project proposed by the Development Authority of the North Country and National Grid that extends middle-mile fiber optic infrastructure to bring broadband access to under and unserved communities in upstate New York. The project will also bolster the reliability and resilience for electricity service, increase the reach of emergency and health services, increase grid cybersecurity, and improve connectivity for U.S. defense assets.

According to the NYS Comptroller, recent federal investments to expand broadband have proven extremely effective and are already bridging the gap for broadband access in New York. From 2019 to 2021, the number of New Yorkers earning less than $20,000 with a broadband subscription increased from 64% to 76%. Thanks to the historic federal investments in broadband Schumer and Gillibrand have delivered in recent years, more than 1.3 million New York households are receiving affordable broadband subscriptions. The senators said today’s investment is particularly important for regions like North Country where according to NYS,  an estimated 31,387 households in the region — nearly 1 in 5 — don’t have sufficient access to high-speed internet.

Schumer and Gillibrand have been steadfast advocates for expanding broadband access in Upstate New York. Today’s grant comes from the historic federal funding secured in the Bipartisan Infrastructure & Jobs Law, which includes a record $65 billion for the expansion of high-speed internet to connect the unserved, make internet affordable, and provide resources for digital literacy. Schumer has pushed to improve the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) National Broadband Map, pinpointing regions that need better internet infrastructure provided by the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program; New York’s share of this funding is expected to be announced later this month. In March, Schumer and Gillibrand announced that $100 Million in federal funding that they secured in the American Rescue Plan (ARP) is now on its way to boost high quality internet access for over 100,000 families and homes across the state.