The deadline for the final round of funding for New York’s Broadband Program is August 31.* 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 HaefeleTV, 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 Haefele 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. Jeff Nordhaus works in the broadband office. “We know this is a very aggressive schedule, it’s a quick timeline, but we’ve been working with providers to ensure that they’re able to meet that,” he said.
“The deadline for all commitments, including deployment, remains the end of 2018 but if needed applicants can apply for extensions for phase 3 projects,” said a spokeswoman for Empire State Development.
*This story has been updated to reflect a deadline extension, Jeff Nordhaus’ full quote and a clarification from Empire State Development.