rural scene

The USDA ReConnect program has granted $21 million to two providers to deploy FTTP networks in rural New York State. The awards are part of the second round of the program. The last announcement for the program was back in March of this year.

Empire Long Distance Corporation will use an $11.3 million ReConnect grant to deploy a FTTP network that will connect 11,341 people, 96 farms, 42 businesses and a school to high-speed broadband in Livingston County.

Madison County will get a $10.1 million ReConnect grant to deploy a FTTP network that will connect 2,170 people, 50 farms and 30 businesses to high-speed broadband in Madison County.

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“Generations ago, the federal government recognized that without affordable access to electricity, Americans couldn’t fully participate in modern society and the modern economy. Broadband internet is the new electricity. It is necessary for Americans to do their jobs, to participate equally in school learning and health care, and to stay connected,” USDA Rural Development Acting New York State Director Brian Murray said in a press release about the USDA ReConnect New York awards.

The latest USDA ReConnect New York awards are not the first in the state. During the first round of the program, Seneca Telecommunications LLC was awarded a grant of $4.325 million to provide a 100 Mbps-capable FTTP network in the Seneca Nation’s Cattaraugus Territory. The deployment will make service available to more than 1,000 rural households, 58 businesses, 25 farms, three educational facilities, one healthcare facility and one critical care facility.

In the first round of the program, the USDA received 146 applications requesting $1.4 billion in funding. The agency awarded 76 entities in 33 states and territories with funding totaling more than $661 million. In the second round of the program, the USDA received 172 applications requesting $1.57 billion in funding. It awarded $673 million to 87 entities in 35 states and territories. The awards – which come in the form of grants, loans or grant/loan combinations, are continuing.

There is expected to be a third round of ReConnect funding from the USDA, although the details have not yet been published.

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