Cuomo Announces $1 Billion Broadband Grant Program

Providers Will Have to Match $500M in Govt. Funding

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Jan. 16  announced a new $500 million matching grant program to incentivize broadband providers to get high-speed broadband to all everyone in the Empire State by 2019.

That will swell to a billion since broadband providers will have to engage in a one-to-one match. High-speed will be defined as at least 100 Mbps, with some 25 Mbps allowed in the most rural areas, saleable to 100 Mbps, if that is the fastest and best way to get fast broadband to everybody.

Under the plan, regional economic development councils will submit a plan to the state identifying unserved and underserved areas, identifying demand in both residential and business sectors, and "leveraging state-owned assets" wherever possible.

The state will use funds from bank settlements to fund its half of the program.

The announcement came the same week President Obama announced a series of initiatives to boost high-speed broadband.

"“Access to high-speed internet is critical to ensuring that all New Yorkers can reach their full potential in today’s technology-driven world,” Cuomo said in a statement. “We’re launching the largest state broadband investment in the nation in order to make that goal a reality. This is a truly bold undertaking that will improve the lives of New Yorkers in every corner of the State, and I am proud to make it a priority of our administration’s second term agenda.”

The Fiber to the Home Council was happy, issuing the following statement on Friday: "The [council] commends Governor Andrew Cuomo on an ambitious plan to hit 100 Mbps in every New York home by Jan. 1, 2019. This $500 Million investment into the NYS Broadband Program Office will make high-speed Internet affordable in underserved communities by incentivizing private investment, something the FTTH Council strongly supports."