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USDA Invests $21 Million in High-Speed Broadband in Rural New York

July 6, 2021 by Dan McCue

About 13,511 people, 146 farms and 72 businesses are about to see their daily activities transformed due to a $21 million investment from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The money will be used to provide broadband internet service to Madison County, New York, a largely rural area just east of Syracuse, and Livingston County, which is just south of Rochester.

The investment is part of the $550 million Congress allocated to the second round of the ReConnect Program, which furnishes loans and grants to cover the costs of construction, improvement, or acquisition of facilities and equipment needed to provide broadband service in eligible rural areas.

“Generations ago, the federal government recognized that without affordable access to electricity, Americans couldn’t fully participate in modern society and the modern economy,” said Brian Murray, New York State director of USDA Rural Development.

“Broadband internet is the new electricity. It is necessary for Americans to do their jobs, to participate equally in school learning and health care, and to stay connected,” Murray said.

“This is why President Biden’s American Jobs Plan prioritizes building ‘future-proof’ broadband infrastructure – like the investments we’re announcing today – in areas without sufficient access to broadband, so that we finally reach 100% high-speed broadband coverage,” he added.

Empire Long Distance Corporation will use an $11.3 million ReConnect grant to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network. This network will connect 11,341 people, 96 farms, 42 businesses and a school to high-speed broadband in Livingston County.

Madison County will use a $10.1 million ReConnect grant to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network. This network will connect 2,170 people, 50 farms and 30 businesses to high-speed broadband in the county.

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