Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer and Secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, announced that $35,001,326 in funding will be coming to the St. Lawrence and Jefferson counties in order to deploy high-speed broadband internet. The investments, which come through a provision in the stimulus bill that Schumer fought to increase funding for, will deploy high speed broadband in rural areas throughout New York State.
“To create the vibrant Upstate New York economy of tomorrow that creates and sustains the jobs of the future, we must build rural broadband and high speed internet networks today. The difference between economic success and failure in a digital world will be in large part determined by access to high speed broadband,” Schumer said. “These investments will create jobs and build a strong base for future economic growth in the North Country and the whole state.”
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), more commonly known as the stimulus bill, contains $7.2 billion in funding for broadband deployment across the country helping communities create jobs in the short term and lay the groundwork for future economic growth. The funding announced today is a part of the Broadband Initiatives Program which is administered by the United States Department of Agriculture ‘s Office of Rural Development.
Broadband in Jefferson and St. Lawrence counties will be deployed by Silc Network Solutions and Castle Cable TV. The project will bring high-speed DSL broadband service to unserved rural areas ensuring that rural communities in St. Lawrence and Jefferson counties have access to the same high-speed broadband that New Yorkers living in more populated areas have. The project will expand broadband access by nearly 700 miles, bringing access to nearly 8,000 homes and over 300 businesses.
Having access to high speed broadband improves nearly every facet of a community. Businesses with access to high speed broadband can compete with businesses throughout the world- their products are made more quickly, customers receive their goods faster and vital information can be communicated around the world in seconds. Access to broadband also improves local healthcare as doctors and surgeons can better coordinate care of patients. Moreover, high speed broadband brings local schools and college to the forefront of education. Classrooms become truly global as students and professors access and perform cutting edge research to improve their local community and make innovations. Schumer wrote a letter in support of Silc Network Solutions application, Below is a copy of the letter and a map of where the broadband will be deployed in the North Country:
Hon. Tom Vilsack
United States Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20250
Dear Secretary Vilsack:
I am pleased to write in support of Slic Network Solutions’ application for a Broadband Initiatives Program (BIP) grant in the second round of funding from the United States Department of Agriculture. Slic Network Solutions’ proposal would expand broadband access in St. Lawrence County in New York State, and would further the goals of broadband adoption in the manner envisioned by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Slic Network Solutions’ project will provide 660 miles of fiber optic cable through 16 towns in St. Lawrence County, many of which have been identified as chronically underserved communities. Three communities in St. Lawrence County (Fine, Clifton, and Piercefield) currently have no access to broadband service. This project will providing high-speed voice and IPTV services to 4415 homes, 112 businesses, and 30 community institutions, and the project is projected to create 76 jobs for the region.
The availability of broadband, in a world that that is increasingly reliant on high-speed, easily accessible internet, is now more critical than ever. Universal high-speed internet access is critical to rebuilding rural economies, like those in Upstate New York, as wireless networks enable entrepreneurship to flourish and attract new types of cutting-edge, high-tech business. And it is not only businesspeople that stand to gain from broadband service; students greatly benefit from easy access to education materials that are increasingly being converted to electronic format, and broadband helps local governments disseminate important documents to residents.
Thank you for your consideration of the Slic Network Solutions. If you have any questions or need additional information, please contact Katie Kulpa in my Washington, DC office at 202-224-6542.
U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer