Broadband in the Tug Hill Region and Beyond

Broadband Videos

The Tug Hill Commission, along with its partners listed below, have been working to identify solutions for improving broadband throughout the region and beyond. A series of three webinars in May and June 2021 provided the chance for local government leaders, agency partners, and Tug Hill residents to learn more about how investments in broadband infrastructure can be made over the next several years to improve access. You can re-watch those webinars below or see them on our YouTube playlist Broadband 2021 Webinar Series.

On May 12, 2021, Scott Rasmussen, Assistant Vice President of Innovation & Broadband with Empire State Development, presented the Statewide Perspective on Broadband. His presentation highlighted the efforts that have been undertaken to improve access to broadband across the state and current efforts to reach every household. The NYS Broadband Program Office has useful tools for accessing information quickly, such as the Residential Broadband Availability Map and the Residential Broadband Availability Search.

On May 19, 2021, Joe Starks, President of ECC Technologies, and Andy Lukasiewicz, Director of Broad-band Services with ECC Technologies, presented a regional perspective: How Broadband can be Delivered, a look at the Southern Tier Network. Counties across the state have partnered with ECC Technologies and other regional partners to map gaps in broadband infrastructure and service, and identify barriers to broadband adoption. Joe and Andy discussed similar efforts that created the Southern Tier Network and provided an update on several counties’ infrastructure inventories and broadband surveys at that time.

The third webinar, which aired on June 16, 2021, was presented by David Wolf, Telecom Division Manager with the Development Authority of the North Country. Dave’s session, titled Technical Solutions and Things to Consider for Broadband Expansion, highlighted technical broadband solutions implemented in the North Country and things that must be considered when discussing broadband expansion in rural communities. The focus was on the town of Tupper Lake, where the Development Authority was implementing a project funded by the Northern Border Regional Commission.

The video below was prepared for the Cooperative Tug Hill Council’s September 30, 2021 annual meeting. Due to technical difficulties, it was not able to be viewed that evening. Please enjoy it now, and reach out to the commission if you have any questions.

If you would like to see any other broadband-related webinars, please reach out to the commission with your ideas on potential topics (tughill@tughill.org).

County Broadband Reports

Jefferson County: 2021 Inventory Report, 2021 Broadband Affordability and Adoption Tool Survey Report

Lewis County: 2021 Inventory Report, 2021 Broadband Affordability and Adoption Tool Survey Report

Oneida and Herkimer Counties: COMING SOON

Oswego, Onondaga, Cayuga, and Cortland Counties: COMING SOON

Warren and Washington Counties: COMING SOON

State-Led Broadband Studies

New York State has contracted ECC Technologies, Inc. to conduct statewide studies of broadband infrastructure, broadband affordability, and broadband adoption. Read Governor Hochul’s announcement for more information, Governor Hochul Announces Launch of Mapping Survey to Examine Quality and Availability of Broadband Across the State (ny.gov). You can take the speed test and survey at this website: New York Broadband Assessment (Production) (empirestatebroadband.com).

Funding Opportunities

General and summative information about broadband funding can be found at Federal Funding | BroadbandUSA (doc.gov). According to the website, “BroadbandUSA’s Federal Funding site connects you to various funding opportunities that support broadband planning, digital inclusion, and deployment projects. The site allows you to filter programs by Agency/Department, Eligible Recipients, and/or Program Purpose by using the filter options… The site is updated as new funding becomes available, with information provided by federal agencies and the Federal Communications Commission.”

Rural Development Broadband ReConnect Program

USDA Rural Development announced that the department will be making up to $1.15 billion available to help people living in rural communities access high-speed internet. Up to $200 million will be ReConnect Program loans, up to $250 million will be in loan/grant combinations, up to $350 will be grants with a 25% matching requirement, and up to $350 million will be in grants with no matching requirement in tribal and socially vulnerable communities. The department will begin accepting ReConnect applications on November 24, 2021.

To learn more about the Rural Development Broadband ReConnect Program, the evaluation criteria, and access forms and resources, go to ReConnect Loan and Grant Program | USDA. You can also attend one or both of the ReConnect Program’s two upcoming webinar topics. See details below to register. If you cannot attend the webinars on any of these dates, you will be able to access the slides, a transcript, and a recording of each on the ReConnect website. 

  • ReConnect Program Regulation Webinar. Presented by USDA Rural Development’s Rural Utilities Service, this webinar will provide information about the ReConnect Program regulation published on February 26, 2021. This rule describes the eligibility requirements, the application process, and the criteria that will be used by USDA to assess applicants’ creditworthiness. There are two opportunities to connect. 
    • Tuesday, November 9, 2021, from 2:00PM to 3:30PM EST, REGISTER HERE. 
    • Tuesday, November 16, 2021, from 2:00PM to 3:30PM EST, REGISTER HERE. 
  • ReConnect Program FY2022 Funding Opportunty Announcement Webinar. To support the application process, staff from USDA Rural Development’s Rural Utilities Service will conduct a webinar on the funding announcement. There will be two opportunities to connect. 
    • Wednesday, November 10, 2021, from 2:00PM to 3:30PM EST, REGISTER HERE. 
    • Thursday, November 18, 2021, from 2:00PM to 3:30PM EST, REGISTER HERE. 

National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) Grant (closed August 17, 2021)

NTIA is in the process of awarding grants for the Broadband Infrastructure Program. The Broadband Infrastructure Program provides new federal funding on a competitive basis for the deployment of broadband infrastructure. The grants will be offered to competitively and technologically neutral projects for the deployment of fixed broadband service that provides qualifying broadband service in an eligible service area. More information and related documents for this expired grant opportunity can be reviewed at GRANTS.GOV.

Northern Border Regional Commission Grant (closed)

Information coming soon.

ARPA

Information coming soon.

Federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (H.R.3684; bill pending)

The federal government is close to passing the Federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, colloquially known as the Infrastructure Bill. The bill includes detailed sections on broadband grants for broadband deployment, middle mile broadband infrastructure enablement, and broadband affordability. Additionally, a Digital Equity Capacity Grant Program would be created. You can learn more about the bill or read the bill on CONGRESS.GOV.

Useful Links

Broadband Map

Note: As data becomes available for target areas, the commission will update the map. Furthermore, once 2020 census data are available, the commission will update the census data layers.

Contact the commission at tughill@tughill.org if you would like to include this map on your website.