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Investing in New York’s Digital Infrastructure

NY State Governor Hochul unveiled application guidelines for more than $11M in ConnectALL funding that will get more New Yorkers online and expand access to high-speed internet statewide.

Request for Applications to $10 Million Regional and Local Assistance Program To Build Local Government Capacity for Broadband Deployment, Digital Equity Initiatives Will Launch June 17 – Guidelines Available Here

Request for Applications to $1.4 Million Digital Equity Technical Assistance Fund To Support Non-Profits Bridging Digital Divide Will Launch June 17 – Guidelines Available Here

Governor Also Announces That Prequalification Application to Help Internet Service Providers Access Federal Funding Through ConnectALL Deployment Program Will Launch June 21 – Guidelines Available Here

Prospective Applicants Encouraged To Attend Information Sessions Scheduled for June 24-27

Governor Kathy Hochul today unveiled application guidelines for more than $11 million in new grant programs under Empire State Development’s ConnectALL Initiative, the largest-ever investment in New York’s digital infrastructure, ahead of the launch of the applications on June 17. Together, the programs – the Regional and Local Assistance Program and the Digital Equity Technical Assistance Fund – will prepare local government and nonprofit organizations to participate in upcoming broadband deployment and digital equity programs across the state. The Governor also issued guidelines for a precertification application, set to launch June 21, to help interested internet service providers access federal broadband funding under the ConnectALL Deployment Program.

“Affordable, reliable broadband is an absolute necessity for New Yorkers looking to get an education, access vital government resources and participate in a 21st century economy,” Governor Hochul said. “We are issuing these guidelines now to give applicants a running start in accessing critical broadband funding that will get more New Yorkers online and expand high-speed internet statewide.”

Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight said, “Closing the digital divide is critical to unlocking economic growth and reducing inequities in our society. By connecting families to high-speed internet, we are connecting them to jobs, opportunities and services. These new programs complement our existing suite of programs and will allow us to move one step closer to achieving our goal of internet for all.”

The Regional and Local Assistance Program will provide grants or technical assistance to eligible applicants for program funding to include non-capital resources, technical assistance and planning which could include feasibility studies or digital equity research, identifying areas in need of internet service or new investments in broadband, or the development of financing for broadband facilities. More detailed information is available in the program guidelines. To prepare for the opening of the Regional and Local Assistance Program the ConnectALL Office will hold an informational webinar on June 25, 2024. Registration is available here.

During the state’s intensive digital equity planning phase ConnectALL listened to digital equity stakeholders and residents across all ten regions of the state and the five boroughs of New York City. This work informed the resulting Digital Equity Plan ConnectALL will accelerate conditions for Plan implementation by enabling digital inclusion and equity providers to prepare for upcoming grant opportunities to close the digital divide with this fund. Through the $1.4 million state-funded Digital Equity Technical Assistance Program. Applicants may request up to $100,000 to improve their collective capabilities to apply for state and federal grants such as the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s $1.4 billion Digital Equity Capacity Grant program and $1.6 billion Digital Equity Competitive Grants. ConnectALL will hold its first Technical Assistance Fund Informational session on June 24, 2024. Registration is available here.

Additionally, the ConnectALL Office will launch a prequalification application process for the ConnectALL Deployment Program on June 21 to establish a threshold of qualified applicants ahead of the release of the ConnectALL Deployment Program Request for Applications. The ConnectALL Deployment Program will provide grants for broadband deployment to locations that do not currently have access to reliable, affordable, high-speed internet service. Successful applicants who are prequalified through this process will be eligible to apply for grant funding via the Program RFA to be issued in Fall 2024. ConnectALL will hold an Information Session via Webinar on June 26, 2024. All parties interested in the prequalification application are encouraged to attend and can register here.

Governor Hochul’s ConnectALL Initiative

Governor Hochul established the $1 billion ConnectALL Initiative – New York’s largest-ever investment in broadband access – to close the state’s digital divide, transform digital infrastructure, and ensure that all New Yorkers have access to reliable and affordable high-speed broadband internet service. To date, ConnectALL has overseen the successful launch and implementation of several programs to advance broadband access, including:

  • The Digital Equity Program will invest $50 million to implement the New York State Digital Equity Plan to close the digital divide. The Plan outlines New York’s statewide strategy to increase its capacity to improve digital literacy and digital job readiness skills, facilitate access to affordable internet and devices, enhance digital privacy and safety, and make government services more accessible through the internet. The Plan and more about the Program is available here.
  • The Affordable Housing Connectivity Program to bring new broadband infrastructure to homes in affordable and public housing leveraging a $100 million federal investment from the U.S. Treasury Department’s Capital Projects Fund. The program is currently accepting applications from internet service providers and expressions of interest from housing owners and public housing authorities.
  • The ConnectALL Deployment Program to fund internet service providers to reach unserved and underserved locations, drawing on an allocation of $664.6 million in federal funding from the Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment Program, as described in the ConnectALL Broadband Deployment Initial Proposal and Five-Year Action Plan. ConnectALL conducted the challenge process to determine which locations in the state are eligible for this program.
  • The Municipal Infrastructure Program will utilize $228 million in federal funding to connect tens of thousands of homes statewide to high-speed internet through grants to public entities, local or Tribal governments, municipal utilities, utility cooperatives, and their private sector partners. Broadband infrastructure in the Municipal Infrastructure Program will be owned by a public entity or publicly controlled and internet service providers will use the new broadband infrastructure to provide New Yorkers with affordable, high quality service options. The request for applications is now available on the ConnectALL website. Phase 3 applications from private entities are due June 28.

Albany NY June 7 2024

Sources: Midtown Tribune newsNY.gov
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