GENESEO, N.Y., May 8, 2023 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development State Director for New York Brian Murray joined Senator Chuck Schumer and local community leaders today to break ground on a project that will provide high-speed internet access to thousands of Livingston County households, farms, businesses, and schools.
“When rural business owners, students, and families have access to good, reliable, high-speed internet, their opportunities grow,” USDA Rural Development Under Secretary Xochitl Torres Small said. “Here in New York, as we break ground on a project made possible by an $11.3 million USDA ReConnect grant, I know this investment will impact people across Livingston County and beyond. Under the leadership of the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is committed to partnering with leaders like Senator Schumer to ensure that people, no matter where they live, have access to high-speed internet. That’s how you grow the economy –in rural communities, and across the nation.”
“Narrowing the digital divide is crucial to rural communities all across America,” Murray said. “This is why USDA Rural Development in New York is proud to be Livingston County’s partner in prosperity as we keep President Biden’s promise in delivering high-speed internet access to this community, their residents and businesses.”
In 2021, the Empire Long Distance Corporation received an $11.3 million USDA ReConnect Program grant to deploy a fiber-to-the-premises network to reach up to 11,000 people including more than 90 farms and dozens of businesses in Livingston County.
Today’s groundbreaking is made possible because of funding from President Biden’s historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which provides $65 billion to expand reliable, affordable, high-speed internet to all communities across the U.S. This high-speed internet project reflects the goals of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda to rebuild our economy from the middle-out and bottom-up through investments such as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
Background: ReConnect Program
To be eligible for ReConnect Program funding, an applicant must serve an area that lacks access to service at speeds of 100 megabits per second (Mbps) download and 20 Mbps upload. The applicant must also commit to building facilities capable of providing high-speed internet service with speeds of 100 Mbps (download and upload) to every location in its proposed service area.
Background: Bipartisan Infrastructure Law
President Biden forged consensus and compromise between Democrats, Republicans and Independents to demonstrate our democracy can deliver big wins for the American people. After decades of talk on rebuilding America’s crumbling infrastructure, President Biden delivered the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law – a historic investment in America that will change people’s lives for the better and get America moving again.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides $65 billion to ensure every American has access to affordable, reliable high-speed internet through a historic investment in broadband infrastructure deployment. The legislation also lowers costs for internet service and helps close the digital divide, so that more Americans can take full advantage of the opportunities provided by internet access.
USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs and improve the quality of life for millions of Americans in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural, tribal and high-poverty areas. For more information, visit www.rd.usda.gov.
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