Gates Foundation Broadband Grant Program
The New York State Library is one of seven state libraries participating in a Bill & Melinda Gates Library Foundation pilot project: the Opportunity Online Broadband Grant Program.
Final Grant Report Narrative, January 2012
This program provided:
- Technical support and training, and upgraded broadband access for 104 New York State public libraries.
- A Broadband Summit, designed to increase library and influencer awareness of broadband issues; provide education about approaches to developing and sustaining affordable, high-speed connectivity; and foster the development of a informed, viable Statewide broadband sustainability strategy.
- E-Rate training and application support (optional).
Gates Foundation Fact Sheet ( .pdf )
Background and Purpose of the Grant Program
It is virtually impossible to succeed without the Internet today: fast, reliable online access opens a world of educational, economic and social opportunities. Public libraries offer critical, free access to computers and the Internet, yet many libraries struggle to update their public computers regularly and lack minimally adequate Internet connections.
This pilot broadband grant program has been developed to: help libraries with inadequate Internet speeds improve their connections to a minimum accepted level of 1.5 Mbps; ensure libraries are able to sustain increased Internet connectivity and support future upgrades as demand for bandwidth grows over time; and help foster a statewide broadband strategy.
The Gates Foundation, using data supplied by LRW, a third party research firm, determined eligibility. All public libraries, whether urban, suburban or rural, were surveyed regarding the number and type of Internet subscriptions, monthly expense, provider, speed and source of funds. Generally eligibility was determined by low speed (<1.5 bps) per subscription.
Opportunity Online Broadband Grant Program