The $1.15 billion ReConnect Program offers loans and grants to facilitate broadband deployment in areas of rural America that do not have sufficient access to broadband. See details on the grants awarded to Livingston County through this program here:
2022 Grant Application USDA Round 2: Livingston County was awarded $11,304, 241 through the second round of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural eConnectivity (ReConnect) grant in fall 2021.
A public-private partnership was formed between Livingston County and Empire Access for deployment of these grant funds. Empire Access will own and operate hundreds of miles of a fiber-optic network that will offer reliable, high-speed Internet access to approximately 1,118 addresses in Livingston County. Livingston County provided the match funds for the grant and over time Empire Access will pay the County for this investment. Empire Access was rated the fastest Internet Service Provider (ISP) in 2021 by PCMag. More information on pricing and availability can be found at www.empireaccess.com/livingston.
Work for this project began in winter 2022 with survey and engineering of the network. Pole application permits have been submitted for several phases of the project and the Points of Presence (POP) locations have been identified and agreements for those properties are being finalized with local officials. Gap assessments were identified and network reroutes were identified and surveyed. All work is in close coordination between project partners and the USDA.
ReConnect Round 4: (pending grant award): Livingston County alongside Empire Access have once again prepared an application to the USDA for grant funding. This USDA request is for $11,655,200 grant funding, with a $3,884,400 match provided by Livingston County. This project will provide fiber to the premise for 3,096 addresses and continue the relationship between the entities to deliver high speed internet to every address in the County.