07.15.19

SCHUMER ANNOUNCES, FOLLOWING HIS RELENTLESS ADVOCACY, $39.2 MILLION IN FEDERAL FUNDING TO BRING BROADBAND INTERNET ACCESS TO +15,000 RURAL HOMES AND BUSINESSES UPSTATE; SENATOR SAYS FUNDS WILL HELP BRING UPSTATE NY ECONOMIES INTO THE 21ST CENTURY

In 2017, Schumer Successfully Rebuffed A Fed Plan To Move $170M From New York State To Fund Broadband In Other States; Senator Today Announces $39.2 Million Of This Pot Being Sent Upstate

 $39.2 Million In Fed Funding Is Allocated Through The Federal Communication Commission’s Connect America Fund

 Schumer: Rural Access To Broadband Internet Is Pivotal In Building The Economies Of The Future

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today announced, following his push, $39.2 million in federal funding to help expand access to high-speed, broadband internet across Upstate NY. The funding was allocated through the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Connect America Fund (CAF) and will be used to bring broadband internet access to over 15,000 rural properties, homes and businesses throughout Upstate NY. Schumer explained that the $39.2 million in funding is part of a $170 million pot for New York State that he previously fought to secure in 2017 after the FCC attempted to shuttle the funds 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. This federal funding is a major victory for rural communities across the state and the over 15,000 businesses and homes that will be served by it,” said Senator Schumer. “With this multimillion-dollar investment, rural counties Upstate will finally have the resources needed to close the far-too-large digital gap. I’ll always fight tooth and nail to secure funding that brings our rural economies Upstate into the 21st century.”

A chart listing all of the New York State counties benefitting from the federal funding and the number of locations that broadband internet will be expanded to appears below.

Upstate County

Number of Locations

Cayuga

1536

Clinton

523

Columbia

260

Cortland

296

Delaware

386

Essex

410

Franklin

499

Fulton

438

Greene

537

Herkimer

971

Jefferson

693

Lewis

57

Madison

7

Montgomery

222

Oneida

689

Onondaga

11

Oswego

372

Otsego

1106

Rensselaer

193

Schenectady

173

Schoharie

667

St. Lawrence

1713

Sullivan

24

Tompkins

16

Ulster

126

Washington

3517

Total

15,442

Several telecommunications companies are using federal investment from the CAF program to expand broadband Upstate. Previously, the Federal Communications Commission wanted to take this unused money from New York and bid it out nationally. For nearly a year, Senator Schumer called on the FCC to reverse course and keep money designated for New York in New York and allow other companies to use these funds to improve broadband access across the state.

These federal funds would complement the $500 million New NY Broadband Program, announced in 2015. New York State proposed the alignment of the $170 million CAF funding with the New NY Broadband Program in order to provide service that is better, faster and cheaper to residents in need.

This CAF money will be used in conjunction with existing state resources to fund certain areas of Round 3 of the New NY Broadband Program, which will bring high-speed internet services to New York’s most unserved rural areas. The federal funding is contingent upon the state’s current investments and reaffirms New York’s commitment to broadband expansion. The $500 million New NY York Broadband Program, which provides funding for high-speed internet access to unserved and underserved areas across the state, is the largest and most ambitious state investment in broadband in the nation.

The New NY Broadband Program sets as its goal access to speeds of 100 Mbps for all New Yorkers with 25 Mbps acceptable in the most remote and rural areas. This goal far exceeds the 10 Mbps requirement of the CAF program and also requires that projects be completed on a more accelerated timeline. Many Upstate New York homes do not meet New York’s enhanced goal of 100 Mbps nor the FCC’s broadband benchmark speeds of 25 megabits per second (Mbps) for downloads and 3 Mbps for uploads. According to the FCC’s 2015 Broadband Progress Report, the previous 4 Mbps for downloads and 1 Mbps for uploads standard – set in 2010 – were dated and inadequate for evaluating whether advanced broadband is being deployed to all Americans in a timely way. Increasing the standards for broadband speed is necessary because a single Internet connection typically powers a number of connected devices in a home. This means that, the more devices connected, the more the speed is degraded for each individual user.

According to the FCC’s 2015 report, using this updated service benchmark means that approximately 55 million Americans – 17 percent of the total population – lack access to advanced broadband. This divide is particularly evident between urban and rural areas. In fact, more than half of all rural Americans lack access to 25 Mbps/3 Mbps service.

According to New York State, as of December 2015, there were approximately 239,177 households across Upstate New York that did not have access to 25 Mbps service. According to the FCC, there were 78,245 households in Upstate NY. 

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