On July 7, 2021, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) named Madison County a recipient of the ReConnect Grant and Loan Program. Madison County is one of two projects being funded this round in New York State. The grant totaling $10.1 million will not only bring broadband service to 7,590 underserved households, farms, and businesses in the county, but will also add a major service competitor, Empire Access, to the area.
This is a major infrastructure upgrade for the Madison County community. Not only does it bring in much needed access to rural homes, but also a carrier who plans to expand to other parts of the county, becoming a competitor for service providers that are already here.
Madison County has been working on this project for over two years. For years, Madison County has lagged behind the more urban counties in the State when it comes to access to affordable, reliable broadband. This was even more apparent after the County conducted a Broadband Availability & Adoption (BAAT) Campaign in 2019 to determine needs and opportunities for broadband Internet growth in the region. The BAAT, conducted by Madison County and our partner ECC Technologies, helped map out the served and underserved areas of the county. As a result, the county decided to apply for the USDA ReConnect program to improve our community’s access to broadband countywide.
The County was working on the ReConnect grant application when the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020. That did not stop the team. They were able to submit the application on time. If anything, COVID-19 actually brought to light how essential access to high-speed internet is for our everyday lives. People use it for work, school, health care, communication, and so much more.
The network, built with the grant money, will be leased to Empire Access who will provide the service and maintenance of the lines. The USDA ReConnect Grant is for $10.1 million, and Madison County will be providing a 25% match to complete the project.
As the project gets underway we will keep the community updated on developments. To see if service will be available in your area, click here. The areas shaded in yellow in Madison County on the Check Availability map represent the USDA ReConnect grant future expansion.
For the press release from Madison County about this project click here.
For the press release from USDA on this project click here.
To view the press conference announcing this project click here.