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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

New York State Continues Efforts to Maximize Federal Broadband Stimulus Funds

ALBANY, NY, New York State press release via StimulatingBroadband.com 07/15/09

New York State Broadband Stimulus NOFA Information Session Draws Public and Private Partners

On July 14, 2009, the New York State Chief Information Officer and Director of the Office for Technology, in partnership with Governor David A. Paterson's Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Cabinet Office, the New York State Public Service Commission, and the New York State Foundation for Science, Technology, and Innovation hosted an information session regarding the first Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) broadband grants.

On July 1, 2009, National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced the NOFA for broadband Stimulus funding under the ARRA.

Attendees representing communities, libraries, schools, not-for-profits, state agencies, broadband providers and community leaders gathered at the session to review current funding opportunities and discuss the requirements for applying for broadband stimulus funding outlined in the NOFA.

"The Paterson administration recognizes we must take every opportunity to maximize federal stimulus funding opportunities to expand broadband in both urban and rural areas. We are making every effort to ensure applicants understand the guidelines and eligibility requirements, and critical timelines for applying for broadband stimulus funds," said Dr. Mayberry-Stewart, New York State Chief Information Officer, Director of the Office for Technology, member of Governor Paterson's Recovery Cabinet and Chair of the NYS Council for Universal Broadband.

The NOFA signals the first of three rounds of funding for the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP), Broadband Initiatives Program (BIP), and the State Broadband Data and Development Grant Program (state mapping initiative). Approximately $4 billion is available during the first round.

The recently released NOFA details the rules to govern grant NYS broadband stimulus eligibility, the types of projects favored, and the broadband definitions that apply. The Information Session was designed to enable applicants interested in applying for broadband federal funding to have a better understanding of the NOFA and training.

Sharon Cates-Williams, NYS Deputy CIO for CIO/OFT and co-chair of the Universal Broadband Council's Infrastructure Action Team, provided an overview of the NOFA, stressing the importance of adhering to guidelines when completing applications for broadband stimulus funds. "I encourage each of you to read the NOFA, monitor the NYS Broadband Stimulus and federal stimulus websites, attend webinars, and most importantly be certain you have a quality assurance program in place so your applications are not delayed or rejected," said Ms. Cates-Williams.

New York State Broadband Map
During the information session, William Johnson, Assistant Deputy Director of Operations for the Office of Cyber Security and Critical Infrastructure Coordination, provided an update on mapping existing broadband infrastructure for rural and urban, unserved and underserved areas throughout New York State.

Mr. Johnson stated a predictive analysis was used to map the state and urged counties and service providers to further validate the map. "Comprehensive mapping is essential in prioritizing stimulus funding. The statewide mapping initiative is a fluid process and we will continue to revise the broadband coverage and availability maps to reflect updates made by county leaders and service providers. We are at the forefront of this initiative."


As part of the New York State Universal Broadband Strategy (download .PDF), the statewide broadband mapping project was initiated to prepare a statewide map of existing wired broadband availability. This helps to understand where the unserved and underserved areas remain across the state.

Edward Reinfurt, Executive Director of the New York State Foundation for Science, Technology, and Innovation, and chair of the NYS Council on Universal Broadband Government Initiatives Action Team, further emphasized the advantages of New York's statewide broadband mapping initiative stating, "New York State's broadband mapping initiative maps unserved and underserved areas throughout New York State. This feature provides a competitive advantage when applying for broadband federal stimulus dollars to show you are serving unserved and underserved areas."

New York Counties: Broadband Enables Economic Development & Public Safety Delivery
Executive Director of the New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC), Stephen Acquario, discussed New York State's approach to maximize federal broadband stimulus funds for public safety. NYSAC and CIO/OFT are working with counties and regions to form partnerships to submit proposals for broadband stimulus funds for public safety purposes. These regional partnerships are intended to maximize stimulus funding to New York State to stimulate the economy while addressing our public safety needs for first responders.

"Using federal stimulus funds for New York State will accelerate our economic recovery. County leaders remain committed to harness the potential of broadband technology. Using these funds for job creation and enhancing law enforcement public safety answering points will help grow local economies and also protect the public," said Mr. Acquario.

In addition, statewide broadband applications were discussed by Dr. Hao Wang, Deputy Commissioner and CIO of the New York State Office of Mental Health; David Walsh, NYS CIO of the State Education Department; Dr. Daniel Chan, CIO of the Office for Temporary and Disability Assistance; and Michael Fancher, Vice President for Business Development and Economic Outreach for the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering.

"Broadband Infrastructure can advance healthcare delivery in New York State by making critical health information available for patients in a secure fashion, making healthcare providers accessible to broader populations, and by making healthcare information available at citizens homes," said Dr. Wang during his presentation.

"Technology changes the learning environment. Classroom walls no longer apply. With broadband technology, learning can take place from anywhere, anytime," said Mr. Walsh during his presentation. "Through the use of myBenefits.gov we have demonstrated that broadband technology is a viable channel to deliver the services our customers and citizens deserve and expect," said Dr. Chan during his presentation.

"Targeted investments in broadband can have a tremendous impact on the delivery of services. broadband applications maximize operational efficiency, reduce cost, increase revenue and boost public safety," said Mr. Fancher during his presentation.

The information session was recorded and will be available as a webcast on the New York State Broadband Stimulus website (www.nysbroadband.ny.gov) for 30 days.

Application packets to apply for broadband stimulus funding under the ARRA are available on the Broadband USA website at http://broadbandusa.sc.egov.usda.gov/download_app.htm. The first round of award notices will be announced in November 2009. All three funding rounds are expected to be completed by September 2010.


About CIO/OFTThe State Chief Information Officer and Office for Technology (CIO/OFT) provide statewide IT strategic direction, IT policy and centralized IT services to the state and its governmental entities. CIO/OFT provides IT enterprise services to support the missions of state agencies by operating four mainframe data centers 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, including more than 90,000 telecom users, 50 statewide mission-critical applications, a secure network of over 1,600 miles of fiber, including IT operations, telecommunications, Internet and Intranet services, enterprise email systems and support, IT training, networking, data storage and processing. In addition, the agency has a world renowned project management practice, develops and supports web applications and assists with application development. For more information, visit http://www.cio.ny.gov/. StimulatingBroadband.com
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