Governor Kathy Hochul of New York recently announced the remarkable ConnectALL initiative, providing $1 billion to expand broadband access to rural and urban areas across the state. Although New York is unique in announcing this commitment to leverage taxpayer supported programs, additional statewide broadband efforts to connect the unconnected are about to get a major boost from the $42.45 billion Broadband Equity, Access & Deployment (BEAD) program included as part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
Project OVERCOME, funded by the National Science Foundation with support from Schmidt Futures, is helping communities prepare for new broadband money by supporting pilot network deployments and gathering insights to ensure federal dollars are put to their most effective use. In seven areas across the country, US Ignite is working with Project OVERCOME teams to understand the technical, operational, and community engagement challenges to universal connectivity – and to institutionalize the best practices needed to overcome them.
It is the hope of the funders and the partnering communities and researchers that lessons learned through this project will inform design and deployments of hundreds of new activities across the U.S. to stimulate and inform new connectivity solutions.
Congratulations to the state of New York, to our OVERCOME communities, and to all who to continue to work tirelessly to close the digital divide. Partners like the National Digital Inclusion Alliance, The Institute for Local Self Reliance, the Benton Foundation, and many others are critical to this effort. We are better prepared now than at any time in the past to turn broadband investment into connectivity for all.