New York State Council for Universal Broadband

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Contents

Announcement

Gov. Eliot Spitzer announced the formation on Dec. 6 2007 of a state panel to develop strategies to allow all New Yorkers to get access to high-speed Internet service. The panel, the New York State Council for Universal Broadband, will recommend ways to extend high-speed access beyond traditional methods and to extend broadband connections to under-served rural and urban areas, the governor said.

  • In his speech, Spitzer set targets: affordable universal access @ 20Mbps statewide, with 100Mbps in metro areas, by 2015.
  • One of the Council's first actions will be to distribute $5 million in grants.
  • The panel will be led by the state's chief information officer, Melodie Mayberry-Stewart.
  • The Universal Broadband initiative is a key component of the First Lady's I Live New York initiative aimed at attracting and retaining New York's next generation.

Goals

New York State divides roughly into two regions: the Digital Corridor that includes the greater New York City region and areas near the Thruway; and the rest of the state, in general more sparsely populated and, more importantly, distant from the main fiber right of way.

  • By the year 2010, the goal is to achieve an average network connectivity speed of at least 1 megabit per second in each direction.
  • In the Digital Corridor, the goal by 2010 is to be at least 20 megabits per second in each direction.
  • By 2015 the goal is to achieve an average network connectivity speed of at least 20 megabits per second in each direction, and 100 megabits per second in each direction within the Digital Corridor.
  • For some parts of New York, e.g. the Adirondack Park, environmental considerations will likely make wireless a necessary component of achieving 20 megabit per second speeds.

Structure

  1. The NYS Council for Universal Broadband will be created as an advisory group of key state agency departments, legislative representatives, academia, public and private partners to develop and deploy innovative approaches to increase broadband penetration and digital literacy in underserved and unserved rural communities. This group will provide strategic guidance for successfully implementing the broadband strategy. In addition, this group will effectively assess and provide recommendations from the various action teams to accomplish the broadband access strategic goals.
  2. Action Teams under the direction of the Council, will be created that consist of public and private stakeholders and subject matter experts, who will work collaboratively to develop innovative strategies to deploy broadband, and increase the level of digital literacy throughout the state. The action teams will be accountable to the Council. Each action team will have a chair and at least one co-chair and will be no less than 8 members and no more than 20.
  3. The Council will launch the NYS Discussion Series for broadband providers and other broadband experts to assist the state in mobilizing private, academic and public resources to design and deploy innovative solutions to achieve the goals of the broadband strategy. The discussion series will be undertaken to foster an open dialogue with broadband providers on how to successfully implement the statewide broadband strategy. The broadband discussions will be held as needed to provide feedback and advice to the Council.
  4. The Universal Broadband Program Management Office (PMO) will be established within NYS CIO/OFT to provide technical programming, program management, project management, grant administration and governance support. The PMO will be tasked with developing and implementing the overall project plan, action plans and results-oriented timelines agreed to by the NYS Council for Universal Broadband for soliciting public/private partnerships via broadband grant RFPs, reviewing grant award recommendations to the Council, and evaluating and measuring the impact of the awards on local communities.

Action Teams

  • Broadband Network Infrastructure Access Action Team
One focus of this action team is to identify and map the State to baseline areas with and without broadband access infrastructures. This mapping effort will focus on unserved and underserved rural and urban communities. The mapping will include existing and planned state-owned networks. Also, this action team will mobilize private, public and academic expertise to implement innovative technologies for delivering cost-effective and reliable broadband Internet services. Finally, this team will develop recommendations and a plan to leverage current networks and infrastructures to accelerate statewide coverage.
Chair: Tim Lance, President, NYSERNet
Vice Chair: Sharon Cates-Williams, Commissioner, Suffolk County
Vice-Chair: John Kolb, Chief Information Officer, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Support: Dan Corcoran, Acting Director of Computing Network Services CIO/OFT
  • Personal Computing, Community Outreach, Communications, Consumer Education, Technology Procurement Action Team
This action team will focus on programs to address affordability, computer ownership and adoption, digital literacy, and consumer education. It will focus on proficiency training and exploring computer procurement incentives for those trapped in the digital divide. Also, the action team will focus on raising awareness and educating citizens about the benefits of universal broadband use to improve their quality of life.
Chair: Michael Borges, Director, NY Library Association
Vice-Chair: Joe Bowman, Regent, NYS Board of Regents
Vice-Chair: Gale Brewer, Member, New York City Council
Support: Dan Healy, Deputy CIO for Customer Development, CIO/OFT
  • E-Government Applications for Low-Income Households
This action team will focus on improving and increasing access to government services offered online. The team will promote the development of open, simple and secure online applications with measurable outcomes. An initial group of “early adopters” of government services have been identified to integrate into digital learning programs.
Chair: Dan Chan, Chief Information Officer, NYS OTDA
Vice-Chair: Ed Hemminger, President, NYS Local Government IT Directors Association
Vice-Chair: Patrick Hooker, Commissioner, NYS Agriculture and Markets
Support: Ellen Kattleman, Director of Application Delivery Services, CIO/OFT
  • Economic Development and IT Workforce Development
This action team will focus on building stronger economies, promote the economic growth of New York State by focusing on increasing business activity, identifying and implementing public/private partnerships, and strategies to create and maintain a skilled and professional workforce by leveraging broadband to accelerate job creation in unserved and underserved communities.
Chair: Bob McNary, Director of Community Dev., Empire State Development Corp
Vice-Chair: Mario Musolino, Deputy Commissioner, NYS Department of Labor
Vice Chair: Howard Lowe, Director of Technical Assistance, SUNY Plattsburgh
Support: Julie Leeper-Evans, Director of IT Governance Support Services, CIO/OFT
  • Governmental Initiatives
This action team will focus on optimizing existing public assets and locally-based initiatives to increase broadband penetration and use through current or planned assets, and infrastructures. Additionally, this team will be charged with monitoring federal, state and local government initiatives and making policy recommendations relevant to advancing the broadband strategy and goals. This group will focus on recommendations for future policy, legislation, or other regulatory advocacy objectives which are aligned with the broadband strategy.
Chair: Ed Reinfurt, Executive Director, NYSTAR
Vice-Chair: Stephen Acquario, Executive Director, NYS Association of Counties
Vice-Chair: Peter Baynes, Executive Director, NY Conference of Mayors
Support: Marc Hiller, Associate Attorney, CIO/OFT


Timetable

The Council will produce an interim report due July 2008 and an annual report for the Executive and Legislative Leadership no later than the end of February each year beginning 2009.

Next meeting: Mar 18 2008.

  • October, 2007 - Conduct RFI Discussion Session with Vendor Community to Validate Strategy
  • December, 2007 - Announce NYS Council for Universal Broadband
  • December, 2007 - Finalize NYS Universal Broadband Strategy Document
  • December, 2007 - Issue Broadband Access Grant RFP to solicit grant applications from local communities to encourage public/private partnerships.
  • December, 2007 - Convene NYS Council for Universal Broadband
  • January, 2008 - Convene NYS Council for Universal Broadband Action Teams
  • January, 2008 - Establish Universal Broadband Access Program Management Office (PMO) in the state Office for Technology
  • January, 2008 - Initiate process to inventory and document actual Internet penetration in rural and low-income areas and begin asset inventory of fiber and other assets required for broadband expansion, including determining last mile needs across the state and map on NYS GIS system. This may include working with providers to complete inventory and mapping activity.
  • January, 2008 - Tentative deadline to apply for grant is January 31. Awards are expected to begin being made February 29, 2008
  • January, 2008 through 2010 - Begin Conducting Meetings of the Council and the 5 Action Teams
  • September 2008 - Evaluate Award Program for Effectiveness and Results Using Measures of Impact

Documents

Grants

On Mar 19 2008 the following grants were announced. More than 50 applications were received for the first year of funding and the proposed 2008-09 budget includes $15 million to continue the program.

2007-2008 UNIVERSAL BROADBAND GRANT Facilitating Increased Physical Access to Broadband Internet Services

  • New Visions Powerline Communications, Inc. $1,300,000 http://www.nvplc.com/
    • Geographic Area Served: Villages of Solvay, Westvale, Fairmont and Camillus; and the Town of Geddes (Onondaga County)
    • Partnership Goal: Develop a “Broadband Over Power Line” solution for the area. This is an emerging technology to allow a user to plug a computer into any electrical outlet in their home and instantly have access to high-speed Internet. This proposal is expected to reach as many as 12,600 households in the area.
  • Southern Tier West Regional Planning & Development Board $613,000 http://www.southerntierwest.org/
    • Geographic Area Served: Northern Allegany County (Allegany County)
    • Partnership Goal: Bring broadband connectivity to the northern portion of Allegany County which does not have access to affordable broadband services. Provide basic internet training classes and training on business applications. This proposal is expected to reach as many as 9,000 customers.
  • Town of Dryden $430,369 http://www.dryden.ny.us/
    • Geographic Area Served: Town of Dryden (Tompkins County)
    • Partnership Goal: Provide a wireless broadband solution, involving the construction of twelve 140- foot towers and the purchase of 5.8 GHz and 900 MHz equipment to deliver the service. This proposal is expected to reach 90% of 600 households and will provide service to four school districts and the community college.
  • Communities Connecting of Columbia County, Inc. $156,631
    • Geographic Area Served: Columbia County
    • Partnership Goal: In partnership with Columbia County Municipal Networks, Columbia/Greene Community College Network, NYSERNet, National LamdaRail/Internet 2, Mid-Hudson Cablevision/Tech Valley Communications and Hudson Valley DataNet, design and implement a redundant regional dark fiber backbone/fiber optic ring with 130 miles of 144 strand fiber. Providing Equal and Universal Access to Underserved Rural and Urban Areas
  • Tech Valley Communications $937,500 http://www.techvalleycom.com/
    • Geographic Area Served: City of Albany (Albany County)
    • Partnership Goals: A partnership with a broad array of municipal agencies and not-for-profit community organizations to extend Albany FreeNet into city neighborhoods where there is a need for IP transport services supporting public safety and city agency activities. This proposal includes launching a digital literacy and virtual workforce training program.
  • Mount Hope Housing Co. $775,585 http://www.mounthopehousing.org/
    • Geographic Area Served: Bronx Community District 5 (Bronx County)
    • Partnership Goals: Expand existing network infrastructure intended to offer broadband access free for one year to residents in this community. A Network Operations Center would be created to provide training for students from local community colleges to become mentors for youth ages 13-17 to teach technical skills.
  • New York State Library $621,010 http://www.nysl.nysed.gov/
    • Geographic Area Served: New York State
    • Partnership Goals: Provide broadband access and upgrade existing access in public libraries located in high need communities to enable libraries to provide digital literacy training, to increase e-government services offered and to increase opportunities for partnerships with other state and private funding entities.
  • Clarity Connect Inc. $90,905 http://www.clarityconnect.com/
    • Geographic Area Served: Milford Central School District (Otsego County)
    • Partnership Goal: Reconstruct an existing tower owned by the school district and equipment necessary to deliver services to residents. Also, provide initial hardware and installation costs for eligible low income residents with a 33% reduction in recurring subscription costs.
  • Newton Falls Broadband Access Project $75,000
    • Geographic Area Served: Newton Falls (St. Lawrence County)
    • Partnership Goal: Provide critical connections to meet the voice and data needs of an economic keystone industry and provide broadband service to the Newton Falls community through an extension of the Open Access Telecom Network.

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