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Published: Sat, January 28, 2017
Economy | By Melissa Porter

FCC approves $170 million for NY broadband expansion

FCC approves $170 million for NY broadband expansion

More than $170 million in federal funds, that could have been sent to other states, will remain in NY to expand broadband and high speed internet service.

The Federal Communications Commission voted Thursday to provide $170 million for high-speed internet deployment in New York's unserved rural areas. "The funding that will be made available was declined by Verizon in 2015", an FCC statement added yesterday.

"This is huge news for rural communities all across upstate New York", Schumer, D-N.Y., said in a statement.

New FCC Chairman Ajit Pai is wasting no time putting his stamp on the regulator, leading a vote to provide up to $170 million from the Connect America Fund (CAF) to expand broadband deployment in unserved rural areas of NY state. The bill would expand resources available for building high-speed broadband infrastructure by creating a new program to combine grants and loans to help finance projects serving rural and tribal areas, she said.

Schumer said the announcement would allow other broadband companies to bid on the funding to improve broadband access upstate.

Last year, U.S. Sen.

The extra funding complements a $500 million broadband deployment plan Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a year ago.

"Broadband is critical to economic opportunity and job creation", said Pai, a Republican who was named chairman by President Donald Trump.

Interestingly, round two of New York's Broadband Program will address additional unserved and underserved homes and businesses, including a portion of the areas that Verizon would have served through the CAF-II program.

Schumer's office noted that more than half of all rural Americans lack access to service providing 25 megabits-per-second download and 3 Mbps upload speeds, which are the FCC's benchmark for broadband service. According to the FCC's 2015 Broadband Progress Report, the previous 4 Mbps for downloads and 1 Mbps for uploads standard - set in 2010 - were dated and inadequate for evaluating whether advanced broadband is being deployed to all Americans in a timely way. Almost 78,000 households upstate were previously eligible to receive the funds, though it wasn't immediately clear on Thursday how many are eligible now.

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