Regional broadband grant denied

"We know our application was very competitive, but there is a limited amount of funds and many good applications from all over the country," he said. "They don't share their ranking process with us, but we think it's probably a fair one."

The 203 successful federal broadband grants, announced by the U.S. Commerce Department, can be found at www.commerce.gov\News/press-releases. The Web site cites the successful grants are the "final awards" under the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act's broadband initiative.

The grant denial was a surprise to local officials, who had attended regional broadband forums at which federal officials, who were slated to review the grants, listened intently to the North Country's critical communication needs and depressed economies - and these officials had expressed positivism about the grant application's prospects.

Murphy and various regional economic development officials could not be reached for comment.

A total of $206.8 million in broadband grant awards announced include grants supporting similar projects in California and Colorado.

The broadband network, as proposed in the grant application, was to feature fiber-optic hubs in Glens Falls, Chestertown and Ticonderoga.

The plans called for constructing a 425-mile loop through Essex, Franklin and Clinton counties, serving 22 communities. This optic-cable circuit would stretch in an arch across northern New York from the St. Regis Mohawk reservation eastward through Malone and Rouses Point, then south to Plattsburgh and Ticonderoga. This circuit was expected to be extended through rural Warren, Hamilton and Washington counties in a second phase of the proposed buildout.

A northern portion of the loop was funded late last year in a $39.7 million grant award to a partnership headed up by the Development Authority of the North Country. The award funded broadband access in New York's western and far-north counties.

The CBN Connect's broadband network for Clinton, Franklin, Essex, Warren, Hamilton and Washington counties was expected to be constructed and active within two years.

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