SCHUMER REVEALS: 1,000 HOUSEHOLDS IN MADISON COUNTY STILL DO NOT HAVE SUFFICIENT – OR ANY – ACCESS TO BROADBAND; SENATOR, IN FIRST MEETING WITH PRESIDENT-ELECT BIDEN’S USDA NOMINEE, RENEWS FIGHT TO GET $15 MILLION IN USDA GRANT FUNDING TO ADDRESS THE COUNTY’S INTERNET ACCESS NEEDS
COVID-19 Has Revealed Serious Disparities In Rural Communities Throughout Upstate New York, Especially Exacerbating The Digital Divide; As Madison County Communities Are Encouraged To Stay At Home Amidst A Resurgence In Cases, Broadband Access Has Never Been More Vital
Senator Fought For Additional $7B In Recent COVID Relief Package To Fund Federal Broadband Programs & Is Pushing to Ensure Broadband Access For Rural Communities Is Among Top Priorities For Incoming Administration
Schumer To USDA Nominee: Time To Dial Up The Funding & Close The Digital Divide In Madison County
After a personal visit to Madison County last July, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer earlier this month, in a virtual meeting with President-Elect Biden’s nominee for U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary, Tom Vilsack, urged the nominee to prioritize universal access to affordable broadband, starting with approval of Madison’s request for $15 million from the USDA’s Rural Development Broadband ReConnect Program. The senator explained that the $15 million grant will provide broadband for nearly 1,000 households in the county, which is vital to the economic strength and recovery of the region, as well as continued educational needs of students in Madison County during the ongoing pandemic.
“The current public health crisis is making it all too clear that the digital gap in communities across Upstate New York is far too wide,” said Senator Schumer. “Madison County families, businesses, farms, and communities need and deserve top-notch high-speed broadband to help them stay connected during these difficult times and to be competitive as the economy eventually recovers. As incoming Senate Majority Leader I promise to continue fighting tooth and nail to secure funding that brings 21st century telecommunications technology to our rural economies across Upstate.”
Schumer has provided strong support for rural broadband access in Upstate New York in the past and throughout the COVID pandemic. Just last month, he helped to secure $7 billion in emergency benefits for broadband service to provide free or low-cost service to low-income families who have been recently laid off or furloughed due to the pandemic. Additionally, in March of last year, Schumer prioritized additional funding for rural broadband during negotiations for the CARES Act and provided an extra $100 million for the USDA ReConnect Program, which he voted to create in the FY19 Appropriations bill.