A recent update from NY-19 congress-person, Antonio R. Delgado, included some positive news on our area’s ongoing broadband improvements.
In January, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced that New York State was ineligible for Phase I Rural Digital Opportunity Fund (RDOF) awards. This decision would have made New York State broadband providers completely ineligible for $16 billion in funding to improve broadband internet in unserved communities. Because this would increase the digital divide, hinder economic growth and opportunity, and stall quality of life improvements for residents in our state, particularly those living in rural communities, I led a bipartisan group of my colleagues in urging the reversal of the decision. After a phone call with FCC Chairman, Ajit Pai, and a follow-up letter, I’m glad to say that the FCC reversed its decision to completely exempt New York from participating in the program. This is an important step for our state, but it is just the first of many needed to ensure upstate communities aren’t once again left on the wrong side of the digital divide.
For more news and updates, visit delgado.house.gov
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Columbia County, and our neighbors across the river in Greene County were both big winners in the third and final round of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s initiative to secure high-speed internet for underserved areas across the state.
The New NY Broadband Program announced Phase 3 awards, which will drive more than $341.8 million of public/private broadband investment across the state. Nearly $211.3 million was awarded to broadband companies in our region under this third and final phase of the program. The program’s goal is to make high-speed internet available to every state resident by the end of 2018.
Columbia County is one of the lowest-served counties when it comes to broadband. An article in HudsonValley360.com quoted F. Michael Tucker, president and CEO of Columbia County Economic Development, as saying,
“We’re very excited by the governor’s announcement for the Round III broadband award,” said Tucker. “While we are still assessing the details, the fact that G-Tel, FairPoint and Mid-Hudson Cable and other Columbia County providers received significant awards is terrific news in connection with the governor’s efforts to provide broadband for all.”
To see the full list of Phase 3 Awarded companies, visit the official NY Broadband Program site by clicking here.
The next step for the broadband program is for officials and winning broadband providers to discuss where the broadband service will be extended.
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Jeff McKinney is a Realtor in Columbia County, NY. Connect with him on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, or Pinterest.