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Regional $39 million broadband grant application 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 Monday by the U.S. Commerce Dept., can be found at www.commerce.gov\News/press-releases. The website cites that the successful grants are the "final awards" under the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act's broadband initiative.

A total of $206.8 million in broadband grant awards announced Monday 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.

Lowe said late Monday that his organization would be seeking other sources of funding for their six-county broadband plans.

Northern New York wasn't entirely ignored in the most recent federal broadband awards doling out stimulus funds.

The grants announced Monday included a $642,000 award to the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe to fund five new public computer centers with 60 workstations to provide career training to about 500 users each week.

Lowe said CBN Connect's board of directors, at their upcoming October meeting, will be discussing the prospects of broadband in the North Country in light of the grant denial.

"We're still assessing what our next steps are," he said.

Jon Alexander of WNBZ Radio News contributed to this report.

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