Washington, D.C. (WWTI)  – The Federal Communications Commission is awarding almost $100 million for providers to deploy broadband to unserved location across New York.

Congresswoman Elise Stefanik made the announcement in a release on Tuesday. The $99,891,715 in funding is part of the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund Phase I auction, an FCC initiative to close the digital divide in rural America.

The Phase II auction will allocate an additional $11.2 billion nationwide, targeting partially-served areas and any fully unserved areas that did not receive funding through Phase I.

Winning providers must meet periodic buildout requirements that will require them to reach all assigned locations by the end of the sixth year, and are incentivized to build out to all locations as fast as possible.

According the the release from Stefanik’s office, the FCC rendered New York State ineligible in January of last year for the up-to $16 billion that would be allocated in Phase I of the plan to expand high-speed broadband access.

Following that announcement, Congresswoman Stefanik spoke directly with Chairman Pai of the FCC and sent multiple letters requesting that the FCC reverse their decision and reiterating the urgent need for unserved areas in the North Country to be included in the initial round of funding. The FCC reversed their decision and deemed New York eligible.

“I fought hard to ensure that New York qualified for the Rural Digital Opportunity Fund and worked directly with FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to deliver this significant result. The FCC’s announcement that unserved regions across New York, including significant portions of the North Country, have been allocated funding to complete rural broadband buildout projects is a critical step towards bridging the digital divide,” Congresswoman Stefanik said.

“I have worked diligently with both my colleagues in the House and directly with the FCC to secure this important result for New York and deliver a much-needed investment in our North Country communities I have been an advocate for rural broadband initiatives since my first term in Congress, and I have worked directly with our community leaders to expand high-speed service in regions that lack connectivity. In the last few months, I have heard from school superintendents, teachers, small businesses, farms and families who have experienced new challenges with broadband access in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, making this investment very timely. I look forward to delivering the positive impact that this funding will have on broadband buildout in the North Country, and will continue working to ensure our region receives additional investment in Phase II of this initiative. “

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