AFTER MONTHS OF ADVOCACY, SCHUMER SECURES $10.1 MILLION GRANT TO BRING HIGH-SPEED BROADBAND INTERNET TO THOUSANDS OF HOMES, BIZ, FARMS IN MADISON COUNTY; USDA GRANT FUNDING IS A GAME-CHANGER & WILL NARROW MADISON’S DIGITAL DIVIDE
Long Before COVID-19, Rural Communities Throughout Upstate New York – Like Madison County – Have Struggled To Close The Digital Divide
In Personal Meeting With USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack Earlier This Year, Schumer Advocated For Madison County’s Application; Funding Will Expand Broadband To Over 2,000 Homes, Farms and Biz
Schumer: Closing Digital Divide Will Provide Crucial Access For Madison County To Succeed In Today’s Economy
U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today announced, following his repeated pushes, that $10.1 million in federal funding has been secured to bring new high-speed internet broadband access to over 2,000 homes, businesses and farms across Madison County. The funding, allocated through a grant awarded by the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Development Broadband ReConnect Program, will be used to install hundreds of miles of fiber-optic cable that will provide high-speed internet access to residents and businesses in Madison County.
“Long before COVID-19, rural communities throughout Upstate New York – like Madison County – have struggled to close the digital divide ,” said Senator Schumer. “In today’s modern economy, access to reliable, fast internet service is crucial to success, which is why I advocated with USDA Secretary Vilsack to secure this grant. This USDA grant will ensure Madison County families, businesses, farms, and students can access the top-notch, high-speed broadband they need.”
Schumer has provided strong support for rural broadband access in Upstate New York in the past and throughout the COVID pandemic. Today’s federal funding comes after Schumer’s personal visit to Madison to announce his push to secure these funds to provide for the county’s broadband needs last year and after his push during his first meeting with then President-elect Biden’s USDA Nominee, Tom Vilsack, in January of this year to urge the nominee to prioritize Madison County’s grant request. Schumer has provided strong support for broadband access in Upstate New York in the past and throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Earlier this month, he helped pass the American Rescue Plan Act (ARP), which provided $353 million to build broadband in unserved and underserved areas. Additionally, Schumer secured over $600 million to provide Wi-Fi-hotspots and connected devices to students and teachers in New York. The funding from the ARP is on top of the $7 billion Schumer has already secured to provide free or low cost broadband service to families in past COVID relief bills.
Schumer voted in 2018 to pass the FY19 Appropriations bill, which created the USDA ReConnect Program. The Madison County grant announced today is part of the second ReConnect grant round made possible by $550 million Schumer helped secure in the Fiscal Year 2020 appropriations bill. The Rural Development Broadband and ReConnect Program provides funding for the costs of construction, improvement, or acquisition of facilities and equipment needed to provide broadband service in eligible rural areas.