U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $1.5 million grant to Southern Tier Network, Inc. in Corning, to install approximately 83 miles of high-speed dark fiber-optic cable to support businesses in the six surrounding counties.
The EDA grant, to be located near 11 Opportunity Zones, will be matched with $2.3 million in federal, state, and local funds and is expected to create 54 jobs.
“The Trump Administration is working diligently to improve broadband infrastructure to support business growth,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “This investment in the Southern Tier Network will provide the area’s businesses with the improved broadband capacity they need to grow and thrive.”
“EDA is pleased to support the Southern Tier Network’s strategy to increase internet capacity in six New York counties and 11 Opportunity Zones,” said Dana Gartzke, Performing the Delegated Duties of the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development. “This project will greatly improve broadband communication and significantly boost regional efforts to attract and retain employers.”
“Expanding broadband capacity is critical to the people and businesses of this region,” said Congressman Tom Reed (NY-23). “We were proud to support this funding by working with the Department of Commerce because we care about making sure our constituents have fair access to the internet services they need. Bolstering broadband infrastructure in the area can drive new economic opportunities for our communities and the people who live in them.”
This project was made possible by the regional planning efforts led by the Southern Tier Central Regional Planning & Development Board (STC). EDA funds STC to bring together the public and private sectors to create an economic development roadmap to strengthen the regional economy, support private capital investment and create jobs.
The funding announced today will help catalyze private investment in a nearby Opportunity Zone. Created by President Donald J. Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, Opportunity Zones are spurring economic development in economically-distressed communities nationwide. In June 2019, EDA added Opportunity Zones as an Investment Priority, which increases the number of catalytic Opportunity Zone-related projects that EDA can fund to fuel greater public investment in these areas. To learn more about the Commerce Department’s work in Opportunity Zones, please visit EDA’s Opportunity Zones webpage. To learn more about the Opportunity Zone program, see the Opportunity Now resources page here.