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Broadband services

Cuomo Unveils Broadband Aid Program

President Obama isn't the only major US public official seeking to make an impact in the broadband sphere with new incentive programs these days.

New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo, often mentioned as a leading Democratic candidate for the White House in 2016 and beyond, is looking to make his own splash with a $500 million matching program for broadband providers that agree to invest their own funds and meet certain speed and other conditions. Announced Friday, the "New NY Broadband Program" is being billed as "the largest and boldest state investment in universal broadband deployment in the country."

Under the new program, New York State is offering a one-to-one match of public funds to broadband providers if they agree to expand high-speed access in unserved and underserved areas of the Empire State, raising the total potential investment to at least $1 billion. Providers must also agree to offer top downstream speeds of at least 100 Mbit/s, or, in certain limited cases, at least 25 Mbit/s in the most remote unserved and underserved areas of the nation's fourth-largest state. The program also establishes 25 Mbit/s as the new minimum broadband speed for the state, similar to a move that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is now weighing at the national level. (See Redefining Broadband Could Vex Carriers.)

The stated goal of the matching grant program is "ensure every New Yorker has access to high-speed Internet by 2019." In the press package announcing the program, the Cuomo administration cites stats indicating that 1 million New Yorkers and 4,000 businesses now lack broadband access at even the state's previous minimum speed standards of 6 Mbit/s downstream and 1.5 Mbit/s upstream. Further, the administration notes, 5.4 million New Yorkers and 55,000 companies can't get access to broadband at 25 Mbit/s downstream, and 7 million New Yorkers and 113,000 firms lack access to speeds of 100 Mbit/s or more.

"Broadband has never been more critical to New York's future," the announcement says. "Broadband is responsible for 20% of new jobs across all businesses, and 30% of new jobs in businesses with fewer than 20 employees."


For the latest on broadband innovation, visit Light Reading's dedicated Gigabit Cities content channel. And watch for forthcoming details on Light Reading's Gigabit Cities Live event, to be held in May 2015 in Atlanta.


The program calls for Regional Economic Development Councils (REDCs) to submit "comprehensive plans" to the state that identify unserved and underserved areas, aggregate demand across residential, commercial and institutional sectors, spell out the most cost-effective means to provide universal service and leverage state-owned assets whenever possible. The Cuomo administration said it will also explore ways to streamline public permitting and processes and foster broadband builds, including tapping into the more than 500 miles of fiber that runs along the New York State Thruway.

Notably, Cuomo unveiled New York's new program just two days after Obama announced a series of federal broadband aid programs and other initiatives, including a controversial call for federal preemption of state bans on municipal broadband networks. Cuomo's move also came just four days before Obama plans to emphasize his broadband agenda, including stronger net neutrality rules, in Tuesday night's State of the Union address to the nation. Naturally, we'll be covering that as well. (See Obama Rocks Broadband World Again .)

— Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading

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brooks7 1/21/2015 | 1:04:13 PM
Re: Nitpick Mitch,

 

EXACTLY!

seven

"a leading poster on Light Reading"
Mitch Wagner 1/21/2015 | 12:46:15 PM
Re: Nitpick brooks7 - That's a leading response to my statement!
ponnnn 1/21/2015 | 11:34:15 AM
Re: Interesting Malone may get fiber sooner than you think. SLIC has done builds up that way, financed with previous government funds. For example: http://www.slic.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/res-pierrepont.jpeg
brooks7 1/21/2015 | 11:12:46 AM
Re: Nitpick Mitch,

Read any press release..."a leading" is everywhere.  It is standard PR speak.

seven

 
Mitch Wagner 1/20/2015 | 11:45:34 PM
Nitpick Nitpick: Cuomo isn't a leading candidate for the White House in 2016. There's only one likely Democratic candidate for the White House in 2016, and she already lived there once. 

But beyond 2016? You bet Cuomo's got his eye on the White House and he's got as good a shot at it as anyone. 
KBode 1/20/2015 | 2:17:41 PM
Re: Interesting Verizon vaguely promised to deliver FioS to 100% of NYC but that's not happening. Elsewhere as you note Frontier, Verizon DSL and Time Warner Cable have little fiefdoms largely protected from real competition. Verizon's likely going to back away from a ton of DSL markets they don't want to upgrade (like Binghamton) leaving Time Warner Cable (ultimately Comcast) with a larger monopoly in many markets than ever before.

Frontier's service in many parts of upstate is simply abysmal. People paying $100 for 3 Mbps DSL and a forced landline bundle.
brooks7 1/20/2015 | 2:14:26 PM
Re: Interesting Okay, my parents live about an hour north of Albany...10 miles outside a small village of 1,100 folks.  Think they are getting FiOS?

No, I suspect none of the large companies are going to bite.  The reason is that there will likely be some attachment to their performance.  That is why they never buy into the Federal Programs.

What might be interesting would be an overbuilder or Frontier taking advantage (they bought Rochester Telephone a long time ago).  Again, I don't think anybody is going to use the money to go after NYC.  Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Albany - all maybes.  Big enough cities to make it worthwhile.  I have not examined the competitive landscape in the smaller cities in NY like those (and after that you would look at Binghamton/Endicott, Utica/Rome, and Kingston/Poughkeepsie and similar areas).

I just can't imagine Massena or Malone getting the kind of build that folks want.

seven

 
Ariella 1/20/2015 | 2:03:33 PM
Re: Interesting "We seem to love doling out this cash, but then can't be bothered to audit where (or if) the money was spent properly." @Kbode I couldn't agree more!
KBode 1/20/2015 | 2:01:45 PM
Re: Interesting "As a New Yorker, this makes me certain, I'll be seeing extra taxes either added on to some of my utilities or to my state income tax to cover the cost." 

As a fellow New Yorker, I'm confident in the fact your taxes were going up no matter what actually gets accomplished.

I'm not thrilled with broadband subsidies for larger companies. If we audited the amount of money already given to most of these companies I'm fairly sure we could have delivered fiber to the home to every U.S. resident six or seven times over already. We seem to love doling out this cash, but then can't be bothered to audit where (or if) the money was spent properly.
Ariella 1/20/2015 | 12:26:34 PM
Re: Interesting "New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo, often mentioned as a leading Democratic candidate for the White House in 2016 and beyond, is looking to make his own splash with a $500 million matching program for broadband providers that agree to invest their own funds and meet certain speed and other conditions. "

As a New Yorker, this makes me certain, I'll be seeing extra taxes either added on to some of my utilities or to my state income tax to cover the cost. As someone who once interviewed for a job that relied on selling internet services to schools when there was a government program to cover 90% of the costs, I know that this kind of thing just invites shady dealings. For example, in the case of the school grants, this contractor promised the schools that would sign up with them that they would get them a grant to cover the 10%. Then they got a foundation to put on the books that they provided that money. Whether they even did or not, I don't know. But the whole point of having the schools bear some of the costs themselves was to have them invest on their own to prove that they were serious about using th technology and not just taking it becasue it was free. 
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