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New York nets $6.3 million to map broadband gaps

Many rural areas are in the dark in cyberspace.
Don Solo
via Flickr
Many rural areas are in the dark in cyberspace.

New York State received $6.3 million from the federal stimulus program to help expand broadband access. The award came from the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration. The money will be used to improve an online map that shows areas with gaps in high-speed internet service. Visitors to the map site will also be able to get a list of broadband providers in their area by entering their zip code.

"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," Governor David Paterson says. "We invite all New Yorkers to explore the map and find out about the broadband in their backyards."

As we reported recently, New York has already received $140 million from the federal government to provide high-speed internet access in rural areas. Sharon Cates-Williams, the Deputy Chief Information Officer for New York State says many New Yorkers in rural areas are missing out on important education and employment opportunities because they don’t have access to broadband.

But even with all the money spent so far, Cates-Williams admits broadband availability in many remote areas of the state hasn’t improved that much. She says many internet providers just don’t see the return on their investment. She’s confident President Obama’s national broadbandplanto get more Americans connected along with the state’spolicieson broadband will help private companies provide coverage.

Innovation Trail alumnus Dan Bazile is former reporter for WMHT in Albany. He has covered a wide range of topics, from town board meetings, to the September 11th terrorist attacks.