NY Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has announced Connect NY, $25 million in grants for programs to enhance high-speed internet access in NY. Recently, the state began accepting applications for grants made available through the Regional Councils and Empire State Development and will help expand high-speed Internet access in rural upstate and urban areas of NY. Expanding high-speed Internet was identified last year as a priority by the Regional Councils in order to help local businesses expand their ability to reach customers and encourage broadband providers to improve Internet access for local communities.
The grants will be awarded to Internet service companies, and applications will be reviewed and scored by the Regional Councils based on the following metrics:
- Providing new service to areas with little or no Internet service. Additional weight will be given for plans that provide more Internet access to the local public through libraries, parks, and other community areas, help local health centers provide new online access to health records and services, and expand Internet service in economically distressed areas
- Creating a plan for educating local businesses and residents on how to use broadband to increase economic development and enhance quality of life
- Building off existing Internet networks to more efficiently increase high speed Internet service in communities that have broadband in only some areas but not throughout the area
- Receiving the endorsement of the local Regional Council and support of community stakeholders