DANC and Time Warner Cable get grants to expand broadband access in St. Lawrence County
Monday, February 24, 2014 - 8:56 am

Empire State Development will invest $9 million in broadband grants to support projects in several areas throughout the state, including St. Lawrence County.

Empire State Development has approved more than $9 million in grants to support five projects that will expand access to broadband services for approximately 33,000 households, 4,500 businesses and 55 community anchor institutions across Upstate New York, including in the Capital Region, Western New York, Finger Lakes, Southern Tier, Central New York, North Country and Mohawk Valley regions.

As part of the $9 million award, the Development Authority of the North Country (DANC) will receive $2,722,000, of which $2.2 million will be used to create a North Country Public Safety Network that will expand vital public safety services to 21 public emergency locations, and 20 municipal buildings that support public emergency operations. The remaining $500,000 will be matched by a $500,000 investment from DANC and used to create a revolving loan fund that will support last-mile build out of telecommunications facilities in Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence Counties.

This is the second round of broadband grants to be approved from the Governor's $25 million Connect NY Broadband Grant program and the Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) Awards, which when completed will represent significant progress in expanding broadband services to the more than 500,000 unserved or underserved New Yorkers across the state.

During this approval round, Time Warner Cable, Inc. (TWC), among the largest providers of video, high-speed data and voice services in the United States, will receive approximately $5.3 million to expand services to municipalities across seven regions in New York State.

This is the first time that TWC has applied for public broadband funding.

The following projects are receiving New York State Broadband Grants:

Essex County Broadband Service Expansion (Essex County) – $557,000

Otsego County Wireless Network (Otsego County) – $558,940

Time Warner Cable Broadband (Various Counties) – $5,258,231

North Country Telecommunications Loan Fund (Various Counties) – $500,000

North Country Public Emergency Network (Various Counties) – $2,222,000

Most of the grant funding will be for the “last-mile” of broadband service, which means the projects will provide high speed internet connections directly to New Yorkers. The last-mile is the most expensive portion of a broadband network, and often prevents many rural residents from receiving broadband service, even when service is available to nearby homes.

“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 REDCs as a key priority to stimulate local business growth,” a release from Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s office said. “Broadband internet grants, such as Connect NY, both spur investment by service providers in communities and help boost economic development in each region by expanding the ability of local businesses to reach consumers globally.”

The grants are awarded in the regions to internet service companies and in partnership with local governments and economic development organizations.