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NY Gov Unveils $1B Broadband Initiative, Report Highlights Success of Federal Investments in Broadband PPPs

January 21, 2015

New York Gov. Cuomo unveiled a $1 billion public-private broadband program to ensure every New Yorker has access to high-speed Internet by 2019. Utilizing capital funds from bank settlements, the state will commit $500 million to the New NY Broadband Program with the intent of incentivizing the private sector to invest the additional $500 million to expand high-speed broadband access in underserved and unserved areas. To receive funding, the proposed plan must meet three qualifications:

  • The state’s investment must serve to stimulate competition in the broadband market where none or little exists; improving affordability and quality of service.
  • Broadband providers must provide Internet speeds of at least 100 Mbps with funding priority given to those delivering the highest speeds at the lowest cost. In certain limited cases, providers may offer 25 Mbps speeds to the most remote unserved and underserved areas of the state if the project can be scaled to 100 or more Mbps in the future.
  • Building on the successful Connect NY model, each Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) will submit a comprehensive plan to the state.

In addition to connecting New York residents with reliable, high-speed Internet, the program is intended to support the state's efforts to attract and grow businesses as well as support public education efforts. Read the announcement…

At the federal level, a recently released factsheet on federal investments in broadband found that, since 2009, the U.S. broadband network has significantly expanded and there has been increased broadband access driven by federal investments in public-private partnerships (PPPs). The report entitled Broadband That Works: Promoting Competition & Local Choice in Next-Generation Connectivity was authored by researchers from the National Economic Council and Council of Economic Advisers. Researchers found that federal investments have helped PPPs partnerships deploy or upgrade more than 78,000 miles of network infrastructure since 2009. The authors also found that more than 45 million Americans have adopted broadband Internet during the Obama Administration. As of January 2015, more than 90 percent of Americans can access the Internet on a wired line and 98 percent by either a wired or wireless connection.

The factsheet also details public-private strategies for building locally owned broadband networks and promoting higher-speed Internet access. Over the past few years, these municipal networks have emerged as a critical tool for increasing access, encouraging competition, fostering consumer choice, and driving local and regional economic development. Regions highlighted in the report include Chattanooga, TN, and Wilson, NC.

In addition to the recent White House fact sheet, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration released a new Public Private Partnership primer, which provides a basic introduction to a variety of partnership models for communities considering new broadband projects. The primer provides an overview of steps to establish partnerships and presents case studies of successful public-private broadband partnerships.

New Yorkbroadband, policy recommendations