rural broadband

Internet service may soon flow faster in New York state

May 22, 2015
Bret Jaspers WSKG


Despite the importance of the internet to our daily lives, service can be unreliable, slow, or expensive, especially in rural areas. Local governments and businesses are waiting on details of how they can apply for $500 million of state money - money that will be used, with private sector dollars, for broadband infrastructure projects.

Jenna Flanagan/WMHT/Innovation Trail

The Cuomo Administration hopes to fix New York’s communication problem by giving everyone in the state high-speed internet access through a new program called Connect New York. 

Its goal is to make sure residents in the underserved urban and rural parts of the state can access the internet at 25Mbps and eventually expand that to 100Mbps by providing matching state grants to broadband service providers. But is reaching some of New York’s most underserved regions as easy as logging on?

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The state's Connect NY Broadband Grant program awarded $25 million to 18 projects on Tuesday.

From the press release:

Together, these projects will build approximately 6,000 square miles of new infrastructure and will provide high-speed Internet service to 153,000 New York households, 8,000 businesses, and 400 community anchor institutions – many without any means to access the Internet. In addition to the vast economic benefits derived from broadband access, the projects being funded by Connect NY will create 1,400 new jobs. Most of the 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.

A "last-mile" project in Tompkins and Cayuga Counties received the third-highest dollar amount among the 18 recipients.

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Rural and urban areas of upstate New York unserved or underserved by high speed broadband, are the targets for the $25 million "Connect NY" funding program announced by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo today.

Internet service providers have until October 5 to submit their applications for grants made available through the Regional Economic Development Councils and Empire State Development. 

Matt Richmond / WSKG

About a year ago, Claire Perez started trying to figure out why she doesn’t have broadband at her house in West Dryden.

Time Warner’s cable ends a half-mile down Perez’s busy road. She’s walked up and down the street, knocking on doors, finding out who has high-speed Internet and who doesn’t.

Perez and her neighbors beyond the end of the line do have access to a satellite service. But that has a daily cap on it, so Perez can’t stream long videos.

“I’m only .5 miles from these Time Warner connections on a major route, ten miles from Cornell University, and nobody can help me in the government get connected and every time I’ve gone to various things it’s like no, no, no,” says Perez.