NY governor Cuomo hopes to raise $1B for statewide broadband network

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is hoping to dramatically increase the amount of fiber in his state. To do that, he is asking for $500 million in state funds for the NY Broadband Fund--concurrently, he's asking for matching funds from service providers or other parties that want to expand service in parts of the state.

The $1 billion total in funds would be used to build a 6,000-mile fiber network throughout the state. Cuomo said that upstate New York would be a key target for the buildout, reported the local Times Union.

"Broadband availability is going to be what the interstate road system was in the '50s," Cuomo said, according to the publication. "The way you needed road access and access to basic utilities to do business, electric and phone--you're going to need access to broadband if you're going to be competitive."

Searching for funds to extend broadband services to more parts of the state has been a key priority of Cuomo, who is seeking re-election. During his first term, the Connect NY Broadband Grant Program provided $25 million for broadband expansion, while the Empire State Development Corp. approved smaller grants to expand service availability in smaller increments.

While large telcos like Verizon (NYSE: VZ) and Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) have a strong presence in the state, their services are far from ubiquitous.

Outside of Cuomo's efforts, some cities like Syracuse, N.Y. are contemplating building their own broadband network. Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner said in August that the city is investigating how it could build its own fiber-based broadband network similar to what local utility EPB has built in Chattanooga, Tenn.

For more:
Times Union has this article

Related articles:
Syracuse wants to bypass Verizon, TWC with its own fiber broadband network
Upstate New York mayors say Verizon is ignoring pleas for FiOS service
5 cities complain Verizon's cable deal ensures they'll never get FiOS
Verizon's Shammo: 1M homes still need to be converted to fiber

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