A silver lining of the pandemic, if any can be claimed, has been bipartisan recognition of the crucial nature of broadband for business, health, and education across the North Country. AdkAction’s leadership in this area over the past ten years has helped position the North Country to receive significant funding toward our 100% broadband coverage goal.
Two major broadband infrastructure investment programs with a total investment in New York State of over $1.2 billion will be completed by the end of this year. AdkAction has worked with municipalities across the region to ensure as many hard-to-reach households as possible are being covered by these programs.
NY State Broadband Coverage Map for 100 mbps or higher speed
A major part of this work has been investigating Spectrum’s claims of new hookups of residents in remote rural counties. Our research has uncovered Spectrum claiming hookups that were paid for by local residents, as well as hookups that did not truly qualify as new. This careful address-by-address monitoring of Spectrum’s claims will better ensure they meet their state mandate of new broadband connections. However, roughly 1% of the households in the state (about 100,000) will still not have access to high-speed broadband when the programs end.
In May, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration announced the Broadband Infrastructure Program, targeted at broadband expansion in rural areas. It is a $288 million broadband deployment program directed to partnerships between a state, or one or more political subdivisions of a state, and providers of fixed broadband service to support broadband infrastructure deployment to areas lacking broadband, especially rural areas. In our case, this partnership is between an alliance of counties that we helped form, and providers such as Spectrum, Slic, and Hudson Valley Wireless. The North Country Broadband Alliance (Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Hamilton, Warren, and Washington Counties) has submitted a $20 million application to provide high-speed broadband service to 3,000 unserved/underserved households in the seven counties.
AdkAction’s role has been to guide the Alliance of counties in identifying the unserved/underserved to be included in the application. Winners will be announced late this year, with work to be completed by the end of 2022.