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New York's 'Broadband For All' Program Enters Final Round

Gabe Altieri
HaefeleTV is a rural telecom company that operates in the Southern Tier. It has applied for grant funding from the state's 'Broadband for All' program

The deadline for the final round of funding for New York’s Broadband Program is Tuesday.

The funding will cover projects for the last two percent of the state. These are some of the most remote areas, where the terrain can be rough and population is sparse. Jeff Golden works for HaefleTV, a small telecom company in Spencer, New York. He said the public investment is needed for these areas.

“There isn’t a version of this story where these are areas that are going to be covered via private investment,” Golden said.

The grant money will help lay the infrastructure, like installing poles and wiring. But a lot of the ongoing upkeep will be on the companies. That’s a huge cost; companies need customers to sign up to make a project financially feasible.

“If the state pays for some percentage of a job, it doesn’t really get you anywhere if no one signs up in the end,” Golden said.

Golden added that Haefle TV does plan to apply for Round Three funding. So far, more than two dozen companies have received grants through the first two rounds of the program.

New York wants all the projects completed by the end of 2018.

“We know this is a very aggressive schedule, it’s a quick timeline, but we’ve been with providers to ensure that they’re able to meet that,” said Jeff Nordhaus, executive vice president for innovation and broadband with Empire State Development Corporation.

Nordhaus added there will be extensions for projects that are more difficult and can’t be finished by the end of 2018.