New York announced the launch of the Connect NY Broadband grant program. The program will provide $25 million in grant funding to promote broadband Internet access across the state. Grants will be made available through the Regional Economic Development Councils (REDCs), and can be applied for through the state’s Consolidated Funding Application (CFA).

The expansion of high-speed Internet was identified last year as a priority by eight of the state’s 10 REDCs.  The program is intended to spur investment by service providers in under-served rural and urban communities and to expand the ability of local businesses to reach consumers globally.

If Upstate businesses are going to be able to effectively compete in the global marketplace, they will need a 21st century telecommunications infrastructure.  In addition to providing grants of this nature, the state should also be promoting policies that encourage telcom network investment in the state, such as deregulating VoIP.