Federal officials to formally announce $33 million for broadband expansion in St. Lawrence, Franklin counties
Monday, December 6, 2010 - 5:00 pm

POTSDAM – Two officials from the U.S. Department of Agriculture will formally announce the $33 million funding package to expand broadband internet service to rural parts of St. Lawrence and Franklin counties at a ceremony on Wednesday.

The event will take place at 12:30 p.m. in the Barben Room of the Cheel Campus Center at Clarkson University. News of the award was first reported this summer.

USDA Rural Development’s Rural Utilities Service Deputy Administrator Jessica Zufolo and New York State Director Jill Harvey will formally announce the $33 million funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Broadband Initiatives Program (BIP) to SLIC Network Solutions of Potsdam. SLIC will install the cable and operate the system.

Phil Wagschal, president and general manager of SLIC Network Solutions, and Susan Merrell, regional representative for Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, will also be on hand.

Of the total, $28 million will be used for cable installation in St. Lawrence County and $5 million for western Franklin County.

In St. Lawrence County, Slic will construct 660 miles of fiber optic cable to about 14,000 people, 112 local businesses and 30 community institutions in Cranberry Lake, Fine, Lisbon, Louisville, Madrid, Norfolk, Oswegatchie, Parishville, Piercefield, Pierrepont, Star Lake, Stockholm, Waddington and Wanakena.

A map of the cable service areas is viewable at www.slic.com/maps.html.

The Slic award is part of 126 projects in 38 states and on Native American tribal areas to receive these awards.

The Recovery Act provided USDA with a total of $2.5 billion to invest in expanding broadband access to rural America.

According to analysis released by the National Economic Council last year, overall Recovery Act investments in broadband are expected to create tens of thousands of jobs in the near term and expand economic development and job opportunities in communities that would otherwise be left behind in the new knowledge-based economy.