NICHOLVILLE – Telecommunications company Slic Network Solutions is getting $5.5 million in New York State Broadband Grants to provide high-speed communications service to rural areas of the North Country in Essex, Hamilton, Franklin and Clinton counties.
The subsidiary of the Nicholville Telephone Company received $33 million in grants of a similar nature previously for projects in St. Lawrence County.
The announcement of the funding from Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office was part of $14.5 million for nine projects to make available broadband services to nearly 30,000 residents and more than 2,000 businesses in the North Country, Capital Region, Western New York, Finger Lakes, Southern Tier, Central New York, and Mohawk Valley regions.
The governor said that the projects “when completed will represent significant progress in expanding broadband services to the more than 500,000 unserved or underserved New Yorkers across the state.”
The four segments of Slic’s new work will include:
• Schroon Lake Next Generation Broadband (Essex County) – $2,162,656
• Long Lake Next Generation Broadband (Hamilton County) – $1,370,306
• Bellmont North Next Generation Broadband (Franklin County) – $1,012,366
• Lyon Mountain Broadband (Clinton County) – $976,426
Most of the grant funding will be for the “last mile” of broadband service, projects that will provide high speed internet connections directly to upstaters. The last mile is the most expensive portion of a broadband network, and often keeps some commercial providers from making the investment, preventing many rural residents from receiving broadband service, even when service is available to nearby homes.
Broadband is seen as an essential part of 21st century business, and with more than 500,000 New Yorkers unable to access broadband, and another six million citizens facing significant obstacles to internet connectivity, expanding high-speed internet was identified by the Regional Economic Development Councils as a key priority to stimulate local business growth. Broadband internet grants are presumed to spur investment by service providers in communities and help boost economic development by expanding the ability of local businesses to reach consumers globally.
The grants are awarded in the regions to internet service companies such as Slic and in partnership with local governments and economic development organizations.