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The Federal Communications Commission yesterday voted to give up to $170 million in broadband funding to New York to support a state program that will boost deployment in unserved rural areas.
The money was available because Verizon turned it down.
It comes from the Connect America Fund, which draws from surcharges on Americans’ phone bills to pay for rural Internet service.

Typically, the FCC distributes this funding to specific ISPs, and the ISPs that accept the money must use it to provide home Internet service with at least 10Mbps download speeds and 1Mbps upload speeds.
Verizon declined the funding in 2015.
Overall, Verizon would have received $28.4 million annually over six years in New York.

The state might still have received some of the money absent yesterday’s vote because the FCC always planned to distribute declined subsidies in a competitive bidding process. But New York petitioned the FCC to waive Connect America Fund rules so that the state could add the money to its own broadband reverse auction and achieve “significant cost efficiencies and financial synergies that are not available absent the waiver.” New York also said that the FCC’s competitive bidding rules “could result in New York receiving very little, or conceptually even none, of the funding originally offered to Verizon in the State.”
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