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Yates County Awarded Additional Broadband Funding


Yates County was recently awarded another USDA/Rural Utility Service (RUS) ReConnect Grant for continued construction of their gigabit-capable fiber optic broadband network to reach unserved/underserved premises in the County. Rural Utility Service is an agency within the USDA that provides much-needed infrastructure or infrastructure improvements to rural communities.

Commenting on the project, Yates County Administrator Winona Flynn stated “This additional grant for $3.2 million was crucial to fulfilling our original goal to get affordable, reliable, high-speed internet to areas of our county that currently do not have adequate speed or service.”

While the County has experience with Federal and State Grants, this is the first time dealing with RUS. Project Manager Marian Walrath notes that “We have built a solid relationship with RUS. Robert Fry, RUS General Field Representative for New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania has been great to work with. RUS is doing all they can to help us be successful.”

Because of significant cost increases and widespread communication delays, once the County was made aware of additional available funds, Walrath and Jeff Ayers, Yates County Planner submitted the application.  Ayers stated, “This infusion of additional grant funding really serves as a testament to the unique challenges the County’s ReConnect project has faced. It also highlights the strength of the partnership between Yates County and the USDA in ensuring the success of this shared endeavor.”

Photo: Yates County

The County says a good working relationship with the USDA and the County’s proven track record of being good stewards of the original Federal grant money helped contribute toward receiving additional funding.

The County has partnered with Empire Access as the Internet Service Provider to develop a mutually beneficial business arrangement for the operation of the network. On the Engineering front, the County partnered with New York Engineering Services to develop the detailed Plans and Specifications of the network design and build, and then to provide project oversight during the Construction phase. It is estimated that there are 1,635 premises within the service area. Amendments to the map (more premises) will be explored based on newer data to fulfill the County’s broadband vision.

An interactive version of the PFSA’s can be found on the county’s website.

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