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Four Columbia County towns apply for broadband funding

Apr 21, 2021 1:45 pm

Aliya Schneider is reporting for Columbia-Greene Media the towns of Canaan, Ghent, New Lebanon and Austerlitz have together applied for a broadband grant from the Community Project Funding program through U.S. Rep. Antonio Delgado’s office, according to information provided by Ghent Town Board member Patti Matheney [Mah-THANE-ee]. The Community Project Funding initiative allows individual members of Congress a way to request direct federal aid to local communities. "...[W]e concluded that applying for this grant together would be the best, most efficient and cost- effective model to construct and/or extend broadband to the greatest number of previously unserved residents and businesses in our rural towns,” Matheney said in a statement. The effort will improve the quality of life for residents. Broadband access is essential for small businesses, children and vulnerable residents, she said. Canaan Supervisor Brenda Adams, Ghent Supervisor Mike Benvenuto [BEN-vah-noo-toe], Ghent Broadband Committee Chairman David Berman, New Lebanon Supervisor Tistrya Houghtling [HOE-telling]  Austerlitz Supervisor Rob Lagonia [Lah-GO-nee-ah] and Matheney worked together on the proposal. Cost estimates from broadband providers to complete access across all four towns were “very attractive,” she said. Matheney declined to share those cost estimates with a reporter. The amount each applicant would receive will determine how much they can complete, she said. In Ghent's case, if the grant does not cover all of its broadband needs, Matheney hopes to use the the funds it is projected to receive from the American Rescue Plan Act. Read the full story at HudsonValley360 [dot] com.