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Local officials unsure about USDA broadband program

Mar 28, 2018 7:00 am

Richard Moody is reporting for Columbia-Greene Media the application process is now open for grants through the U.S. Department of Agriculture' Community Connect Program to upgrade broadband infrastructure, but local officials are unsure if they will apply. “Broadband is a high priority for Greene County,” Greene County Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Planning Warren Hart said. “The county is constantly looking at multiple options to get investment money from the state or the federal government.” The county is currently in the process of mapping out where investment is already being made in the service infrastructure after the most recent state awards were announced in early March. Internet providers in Columbia and Greene have received more than $56.6 million through all three rounds of the state broadband program. The USDA grant requires a 15 percent match from providers in exchange for public funds, something Hart said doesn’t help providers expand access to unserved locations. The application deadline for the USDA grant is May 14, which Hart called a small window of time. “It is definitely an ambitious deadline,” Hart said. “We still have to map out locations and then we will evaluate if it is a good grant for our providers. It is a short window.” Read the full story at HudsonValley360 [dot] com.