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09.01.21

Infrastructure deal Schumer negotiates includes record funding to bring fast and affordable internet to undeserved communities in rural and urban CNY

Schumer says new survey shows around 14,000 homes and businesses Over 1,700 miles in Cayuga, Cortland, Madison, Onondaga and Oswego counties do not have high-speed internet access; While one in four Syracuse residents still do not have the Internet

Schumer: bridging the digital divide will fully connect downtown New York to 21st Economy of the century

After the bipartisan infrastructure bill negotiated by Schumer was passed in the Senate last month, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer today traveled to Cayuga County to announce that the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Employment Act (IIJA) includes record $ 65 billion in funding to expand high-speed internet access in underserved rural and urban communities across the country, including here in central New York City. Schumer also revealed new data from the Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board’s (CNY RBDP) Broadband Internet Survey Project that will help the region immediately harness the historic funding made available by the IIJA. The new survey showed that about 14,000 homes and businesses along about 1,775 miles of road lacked modern Internet access in the five counties that make up central New York City.

“Long before COVID-19, rural and urban communities in central New York City struggled to bridge the digital divide,” noted Senator Schumer. “Whether you are in Sterling or Syracuse, access to reliable and fast internet service is critical to success in today’s modern economy, which is why I fought to include a historic investment to expand broadband internet access to underserved communities in infrastructure investment and jobs law.

Schumer said Cayuga, Cortland, Madison, Onondaga and Oswego counties have partnered with the Central New York Regional Planning and Development Board (CNY RBDP) and ECC Technologies, LLC to undertake a community internet survey that will build local capacity needed to a successful broadband infrastructure. projects. Data compiled from the CNY RBDP survey – along with statistics that show that one in four homes in Syracuse does not have the Internet – will provide rural and urban communities in central New York City with the information they need to continue the campaign. record funding made available by the IJIA. The study revealed the following data:

county

East. Number of road miles without modern broadband service

East. Number of homes and businesses without modern broadband service

Cayuga

350-400 miles

3,000 – 3,500 households / businesses

Cortland

400-425 miles

1,500 – 2,000 households / businesses

Madison

350-400 miles

2,500 – 3,000 households / businesses

Onondaga

200-225 miles

2,000 – 2,500 households / businesses

Oswego

300-325 miles

2,000 – 3,000 households / businesses

TOTAL

1,600 – 1,775 miles

11,500 – 14,000 households / businesses

Schumer added “Communities in central New York City – which are on the way to developing a plan to bring fast, reliable and affordable Internet access to those who do not have it – will immediately benefit from this historic $ 65 million investment.

Specifically, Schumer said the recently passed Senate bipartisan infrastructure bill – the IIJA – includes the following broadband funding programs that communities in central New York City can leverage to further expand the future broadband access:

  • $ 42.45 billion for broadband deployment grants to States, DC, Puerto Rico and Territories
    • Provides funding to states to bridge the digital divide in high-cost, unserved and underserved communities.
  • $ 14.2 billion for permanent broadband accessibility
    • Provides funds to create the new Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). PCA begins when funding for the high-speed emergency delivery runs out, ensuring that qualified households will be able to access affordable high-speed internet beyond the COVID-19 emergency period. The ACP extends affordability support by expanding eligibility to 200% of the federal poverty level, adds coverage for WIC recipients, and increases the long-term availability of support for skilled households. ACP protects consumer choice by ensuring that eligible households can use the benefit for ANY broadband service offering, preventing providers from restricting it to certain service plans only.
  • $ 2.75 billion for digital equity and inclusion
    • State funding to provide literacy and digital skills education to low-income populations or the elderly, improve online accessibility of social services for people with disabilities, or more accurately measure access and uptake from the top flow in rural communities.
  • $ 2 billion for USDA’s ReConnect loan and grant program
    • Expands the US Department of Agriculture’s ReConnect Loans and Grants Program and Rural Broadband Access Loan and Loan Guarantee program to connect the most rural and hard-to-reach rural areas.
  • $ 2 billion for the Tribal Connectivity Fund
    • Additional funding for the Tribal Broadband Connectivity Program, building on the program set out in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 which passed in December 2020. This flexible funding will enable Native Americans, Native Alaskans and Native Hawaiians to meet their most pressing broadband needs, including deployment, affordability and digital inclusion efforts.
  • $ 1 billion for Middle Mile broadband infrastructure
    • Funding to support the efforts of small vendors, nonprofits, planning and development organizations, utilities and others across the country to build middle mile infrastructure to reduce costs and ensure the existence of the infrastructure to build up to the households of the last mile
  • $ 600 million for specific broadband private activity obligations
    • The Law on Investment in Infrastructure and Jobs authorizes certain broadband projects as activities eligible for tax-exempt private activity obligations. Private activity bonds are bonds issued by state and local governments used to finance projects in partnership with the private sector.

Schumer said he also secured $ 150 million for the IIJA’s Northern Frontier Regional Commission (NBRC), tripling its funding from the previous 5-year period. NBRC provides dedicated funding for economic development, including investments in high-speed internet, in communities along the northern border, including Cayuga. The NBRC is a federal-state partnership that provides economic development funds to communities in the northern border region, including Cayuga County. Wells College was awarded a $ 1 million NBRC last month to upgrade its water treatment plant in the village of Aurora, Schumer said.

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