Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Governor Paterson Announces New York Awarded $6.375 Million Federal Grant for Broadband Mapping Activities

Governor David A. Paterson today announced New York State has received a $6,375,431 federal stimulus grant for its broadband mapping activities. The State's Office of Cyber Security and Critical Infrastructure received the award from the Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) in the final round of awards in the State Broadband Data and Development grant program, funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The State is using this and other funding to develop the first-ever statewide map depicting the availability of high-speed internet service, commonly known as broadband. This map is now available to the public at www.broadbandmap.ny.gov.

"Making broadband universally available so that every New Yorker can fully participate in the modern economy is vital to our recovery as a State," Governor Paterson said. "This federal grant will be put to good use as we work to collect, verify, map and analyze data obtained from each of the companies that offers broadband service to New York State customers. I thank President Obama and our entire New York State Congressional delegation for working to make this important funding available."

Visitors to the map can enter a street address and see a list of broadband providers who offer service in their neighborhoods, including the types of broadband service and advertized service speeds, as well as links to contact the providers for additional information or to subscribe for service. The map also allows visitors to view a variety of other relevant information, including the availability of each type of broadband service including Digital Subscriber Line (DSL), cable modem, direct fiber connection, and wireless and the number of competitive service types in each neighborhood. Finally, the map permits visitors to display those areas in the State that lack broadband coverage.

"As we work to ensure broadband access is available in every corner of our State, we must first clearly understand the existing broadband landscape, and this new map provides that clarity for the first time," the Governor added. "We invite all New Yorkers to explore the map and find out about the broadband in their backyards."

Thomas D. Smith, Director of the Office of Cyber Security, said: "We are very pleased to be conducting broadband mapping as part of the national effort. Our agency is leveraging its existing capabilities in mapping and geographic information systems to greatly expand the information available about broadband service within the State. This new broadband data, when combined and analyzed with other data such as demographic and business information, will provide policy-makers with a solid foundation for their decisions."

Dr. Melodie Mayberry-Stewart, Chief Information Officer for New York State, and Chair of Governor Paterson's Broadband Development and Deployment Council, said: "A critical component of our State Broadband Strategy requires establishing a Broadband availability baseline to address gaps in coverage, and identifying unserved and underserved areas of the State. New York State took the lead to develop a comprehensive broadband mapping strategy two and a half years ago to identify areas most in need. This initiative and the data analyzed and presented by the Office of Cyber Security provides the Broadband Council with information to close broadband availability gaps, and bring Broadband to every New Yorker."

In addition to the interactive map data, the site also provides descriptive information designed to educate New Yorkers about broadband by describing the mapping procedures and what the data represents. A glossary of terminology and helpful links to other information about broadband are also provided. Visitors can use the site to gain an understanding of the differences in broadband by comparing the service available in any two counties, cities, towns, or villages in the State.

The Governor also noted that the map provides ways for New Yorkers to report errors or omissions on the map, and to help the State gather additional data on broadband speeds by running an online speed test provided by the Center for Technology in Government at SUNY-Albany.

A national broadband map will be assembled from data prepared by each state and will be completed by February 17, 2011.

Throughout his administration, Governor Paterson has worked to improve access to affordable, high-speed Internet service as a fundamental component for building the Digital and Innovation Economy in New York State. The Governor signed an executive order creating the Broadband Development and Deployment Council in 2008, and established the NYS Broadband Program Office to support and complement the Council's efforts directly related to broadband infrastructure projects, funding, and digital literacy programs.

Governor Paterson published the New York State Universal Broadband Strategic Roadmap, and created the Innovation Economy Matching Grants Program, which provides a State match for federal stimulus broadband grants awarded to research facilities, municipalities, and businesses in New York State. To date, New York has received $149.5 million in funding for broadband projects. These funds have been used to better position the State to eliminate the digital divide and ensure every community, resident and business has the technology resources needed to thrive in the New Economy based on knowledge, technology and innovation.
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