By JIMMY LAWTON
NICHOLVILLE – SLIC Network Solutions, Inc. received a $2.2 million Empire State Development Grant to aid its St. Lawrence County fiber optics project.
The $2,225,033 grant will be tacked on to the more than $35 million project, which includes constructing 660 miles of fiber optic cable to bring advanced broadband services to 5,856 un-served households in St Lawrence County.
Nicholville Telephone CEO Mark Dzwonczyk said the grant was applied for as a 10 percent match to its $33 million federal stimulus funding received in 2010. Since then, the grant was delayed and reduced to an 8 percent match.
“This grant was in the works for two years. About half the money we are getting, we have already committed,” he said.
Dzwonczyk said the company won’t see the funding until the first quarter of next year, but the approval allows the company to continue its aggressive expansion, which remains well ahead of the original schedule.
Dzwonczyk said the grant is particularly useful to the company as it is not held to the same restrictions as the federal funding, which was outlined road by road.
“The really good news is that there is no specific map for this grant. There are no geographic limitations on this. They basically trust us to use it where we need it.” he said.
In anticipation of the grant a loan was taken from the St. Lawrence River Valley Redevelopment Agency to expand its offerings in Ogdensburg.
It helped connect businesses like United Helpers and other Ford Street businesses with new fiber, even though that area was not part of the original project food print.
“These were companies that really needed hi-speed broadband,” Dzwonczyk said.
SLIC has previously developed and managed last-mile fiber networks in Canton, Potsdam and Massena to provide voice and data services primarily to commercial customers.
To date, the company has received more than $33 million in federal stimulus funding as well as a revolving line of credit from St. Lawrence River Valley Redevelopment Agency.
The company's customers include hospitals, school districts, banks, county government, municipal governments, fire departments and police stations.
Empire State Development’s Board of recently approved $24,928,640 in funding for New York State economic development.
SLIC received the only grant issued to a St. Lawrence County company, and was one of two private companies that received funding.