"Connect NY" provides $25 million in grants available through the Regional Councils and Empire State Development to expand promote and expand high-speed Internet access in rural upstate and underserved urban areas of the State. With over 700,000 New Yorkers unable to access broadband, and another six million citizens facing significant obstacles to connect, expanding high-speed internet was identified by many Regional Councils as a priority to stimulate local business growth. The “Connect NY” Broadband Grants are designed to spur investment by broadband service providers and expand broadband connectivity and economic development in each region.
Applications will be reviewed and scored on the following criteria:
Priority Areas and Demonstrated Need: Providing new service to areas with little or no Internet service. Additional weight will be given for plans that provide Internet access to the local public through libraries, parks, and other community areas, help local health centers provide new online access to health records and services, and expand Internet service in economically distressed areas
Impact and Adoption: Creating a comprehensive plan to provide digital literacy training, address affordability challenges, provide training for business sectors, and increase broadband awareness.
Leveraging Existing Infrastructure and Funding Sources: Building off existing Internet networks to more efficiently increase high speed Internet service in communities that have broadband in only some areas but not throughout the area .
Collaboration and Community Support: A critical success factor for broadband deployment projects is strong community support for the project and a community vested in the successful outcome of the project. Additional weight will be given for projects that demonstrate a commitment from local governments or broadband service provides, including public/private partnerships.
Regional Economic Development Council Endorsement: The integration broadband into regional economic development strategies is a critical success factor for the sustainability and enhancement of New York’s Digital Economy. Points in this category will be based on the degree to which the project meets and advances the goals and objectives stated in the Regional Council Strategic Plan.