New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced that the state will allocate $1 billion in funding for the ConnectALL initiative, which her office described as “the largest ever investment in New York’s 21st-century infrastructure.”
The ConnectAll initiative aims to deliver affordable broadband to millions of New Yorkers and transform the state’s digital infrastructure through new investments. As part of the initiative, the state will use over $1 billion in public and private investments to connect New Yorkers in rural and urban areas statewide to broadband.
“The pandemic exposed how without broadband internet, New Yorkers can be disconnected from school, work, and families,” Gov. Hochul said. “The ConnectALL Initiative will empower local municipalities and state agencies to set up nation-leading broadband infrastructure statewide, ensuring that every New Yorker has access to the internet when they need it.”
The initiative will be managed by the new ConnectAll office. Among other measures, the ConnectAll initiative includes:
- “Broadband Assessment Program and Interactive Map: The Broadband Assessment Program, administered by the Public Service Commission, will provide New York with the first-ever, in-depth interactive broadband map. This map will detail the availability and reliability of broadband infrastructure statewide, and serve as a useful tool for targeting where investment in broadband connectivity is needed. Consumers will also have the ability to search for broadband providers and review what services are available in their area.
- Grant Programs: To support local efforts to expand broadband, the ConnectALL initiative will establish three grant programs to provide funding to local municipalities and other entities to plan, engineer, and construct accessible broadband infrastructure. The State will coordinate with municipalities in every corner of New York to ensure funding is directed where it’s most needed and that every community has the support and resources to effectively participate.
- $30-a-month Affordability Subsidy: To further the expansion of affordable broadband, the Department of Public Service will administer efforts to ensure every eligible New Yorker can take advantage of the IIJA’s $14 billion Affordability Program to support a permanent $30-a-month broadband subsidy for low-income households.
- Affordable Housing Connectivity Program: As part of the agency’s overall housing plan, New York Homes and Community Renewal will expand the affordability of broadband by working in partnership with Empire State Development to fund the retrofitting all affordable housing projects with broadband installations.”
“Closing this remaining digital divide is critical, because having universal access to high-speed broadband in our digital economy is as essential as having heat, water, and electricity,” the governor’s office said in a statement. “Connectivity helps New Yorkers go to school, work remotely, find a job, start a business, access healthcare, and communicate with loved ones. Further investment in this vital public infrastructure will not only strengthen the progress of our State’s initial investment, it will boost economic growth and local innovation far into the future.”