New York State’s ConnectALL Office has been allocated more than $664 million in funding from the federal Broadband Equity Access and Deployment Program, part of the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The BEAD allocation is the largest single investment in the ConnectALL program and will be used primarily for providing fiber optic infrastructure to locations in New York that currently have no broadband service.
The $1+ billion ConnectALL initiative, announced by Governor Kathy Hochul in her January 2022 State of the State Address, is New York State’s largest-ever public investment in broadband, aimed at transforming the state’s digital infrastructure to connect all New Yorkers to the internet. In addition to funding to reach unserved and underserved locations, ConnectALL includes grant programs to invest in public broadband infrastructure, to upgrade service to affordable and public housing, and to support digital inclusion and education on using the internet.
New York will submit an initial grant distribution proposal to President Biden’s National Telecommunication and Information Administration (NTIA). Following approval of the initial proposal, the ConnectALL Office will solicit applications from internet service providers to build new broadband infrastructure in unserved and underserved areas of the state. That package of applications will be included in New York’s final proposal to NTIA, after which the state will receive its full BEAD allocation to issue grant awards.
The BEAD allocation follows a $100 million award from the Treasury Department’s Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund announced in May and two planning grants totaling over $7 million announced in December.
The BEAD allocation is based largely on New York’s portion of the nation’s unserved locations, as reported by the Federal Communications Commission. The FCC’s map originally showed New York had 106,290 unserved locations. In October 2022, Governor Hochul issued a challenge to the FCC’s broadband data maps, which revealed more than 31,000 underserved and unserved locations missing from the FCC’s data, following a statewide mobilization of regional, county, and local officials and New York’s own, first-of-its-kind interactive broadband map. In May, the FCC released updated data including over 140,000 unserved locations in New York and nearly 38,000 locations that have access to the minimal level of internet speeds to qualify as underserved.
“This transformative investment in New York’s ConnectALL program will be a game-changer in advancing our statewide strategy to make affordable, high-speed internet available to all,” Governor Hochul said. “In today’s economy, reliable broadband access is an absolute necessity, and I thank the Biden administration, Majority Leader Schumer, Senator Gillibrand, and New York’s congressional delegation for continuing to prioritize critical infrastructure needs and for supporting our mission to expand broadband to every corner of our state.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said, “Thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure & Jobs Law we passed, a historic nearly $670 million is now on its way to expand broadband infrastructure and boost high-quality internet access across New York. Whether it is for work, school, or getting the healthcare you need, access to the internet is not luxury, but a necessity for modern life. Long before the pandemic, communities across New York, from rural communities Upstate to bustling city neighborhoods, have struggled to obtain reliable high-speed internet service. I am proud to deliver this record setting nearly $670 million for New York to help finally close the digital divide. New York, under Governor Hochul’s leadership, is leading the charge to get all New Yorkers the equitable access to the internet they deserve, and this major federal investment will help finally give our communities the support they need to succeed in the 21st century.”
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand said, “Access to affordable, high-quality internet is critical to connect New Yorkers with work, health care, education and more. This funding will go directly toward bridging the digital divide and deliver high-speed internet to families across New York State. I am proud to have worked to deliver this funding through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and I will continue to fight so every New Yorker has access to reliable, high-quality internet.”