More than $170 million in federal funds that could have been sent to other states will be returned to Upstate New York to expand broadband and high speed internet service, state officials announced on Jan. 27.
The bipartisan effort was announced by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer, and Rep. Chris Collins.
“This is huge news for rural communities all across Upstate New York. From the very beginning, I was very clear with the FCC that this $170 million belongs strictly to New York and should be kept here,” said Schumer. “The federal government’s job should be to invest not divest in Upstate New York’s internet access.”
He said other broadband companies in Upstate New York “will now have the opportunity to work with the state in order to bid on this funding to improve Upstate’s broadband access. As long as I’m Senator, I will never let New Yorkers access to broadband suffer just because one carrier chose not to invest in New York.”
“Access to rural broadband is crucial for Western New Yorkers,” said Collins. “We have tirelessly fought to keep this money in New York State and I am excited for Western New Yorkers that the FCC listened. This money is a critical investment in New York’s future.”
Officials said several telecommunications companies are using federal investment from the Connect America Fund to expand broadband Upstate, but one national carrier did not accept the money it was allocated. The Federal Communications Commission wanted to take this unused money from New York and bid it out nationally.