New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is looking allocate millions of dollars in stimulus funds to expand broadband access to the most rural and underserved areas in the state, according to a new report from the Associated Press.
Cuomo and other legislators are looking to apportion $25 million of the $75 million New York Works Economic Development Fund to broadband projects in an effort to create new jobs and expand economic growth. Much of upstate New York doesn't have decent Internet or even cell phone coverage, making it extremely difficult for small businesses to remain viable, lawmakers argue.
The proposed move would provide additional broadband funds and a mechanism that would allow private companies to partner with each other to implement high-speed broadband, says the AP. The initiative would require regulation with telecommunication companies.
Legislators say that expanded broadband coverage will help the state recruit tomorrow's business leaders and enable them to prosper in upstate New York rather than in more metropolitan areas.
"We're not able to attract young people to come here and stay," Sen. Elizabeth O'C. Little told the AP. "We need broadband, so some of our second-home owners can stay longer, work here longer and all that creates business activity," Little said, adding that the addition cell phone coverage can help save the lives of those who find trouble in New York's remote wilderness areas.
Cuomo's broadband push mirrors that of President Obama's national plan, first revealed at last year's Inaugural Address, which has a goal of rolling out high-speed wireless to 98 percent of all Americans within the next five years.
As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, Obama allocated $7.2 billion for the expansion of wireless broadband. The majority of this money has been distributed to telecom providers, which previously had no financial incentive to roll out high-speed networks to rural areas.
"To attract new businesses to our shores, we need the fastest, most reliable ways to move people, goods, and information — from high-speed rail to high-speed Internet," Obama said at the time.
The focus has been particularly beneficial for the global fixed broadband market, which is expected to generate more than $191 billion in 2012, according to ABI Research.
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