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New York’s challenge process brings a new scene for BEAD

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New York’s curtains are rising on the next phase of its BEAD journey this month as its challenge process, powered by Ready, is set to commence later this month

Connect All, New York State’s broadband office, has been tasked with administering BEAD funding and the state’s broadband infrastructure deployment. 

When most people think of New York, almost invariably, they think of the hard pavement of New York City. And perhaps that’s fair. With more than 8.3 million residents, it’s the largest city in the United States – more than double the size of the second largest city, Los Angeles. 

Even though the Big Apple may get the most sap, however, there is much more to the state than skyscrapers and concrete. In fact, the state is home to 33,500 farms across 7 million acres; approximately 20 percent of New York is farmland! New York is also home to 8 federally recognized indigenous tribes. 

The Empire State was allocated $664 million in BEAD funding as part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, with the goal of connecting every apartment block, every skyscraper, every farm, and every tribe in the state. Currently, the state has more than 80,000 unserved locations and 10,000 underserved locations. This is no small task.

New York is slated to make history with its challenge process as it becomes the first state in the nation to implement a resident portal that allows everyday New Yorkers to submit provider level service challenge information. This allows for residents, who are typically unable to “challenge” locations, to do so and have greater participation in the BEAD process.

This is so critical because it's everyday New Yorkers who know their communities the best! They know that even though their building is supposed to have high speed broadband, the internet hasn’t worked for half of the building in months. They know that even though they can go down the street to the library to access the wi-fi, between the 6 and 8pm the service slows to a crawl, and no one can get anything done. These are perspectives and voices that would likely be overlooked without a resident portal.

The Empire State’s challenge process is designed to help the state’s broadband office do more with less. So what does that mean? Well, it allows the office’s consultants, applicants, and challengers to administer, file, and respond to challenges via a shared portal. The Challenge Process Coordinator was designed to streamline every aspect of this process, and makes use of automatic messaging, a public map built to NTIA standards, and more tools all designed to scale the abilities of the office without the need to grow the team. 

New York joins Mississippi, Louisiana, Virginia, Kansas, NevadaMontana, and other leading states in utilizing Ready’s software tools to conduct their challenge process. 

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