Yates County is teaming up with ECC Technologies to lure an Internet Service Provider that will join the county in applying for a federal grant and loan fund to help fund broadband access for more county residents.

After an executive session at the end of the Jan. 11 meeting, the Yates County Legislators agreed to pay ECC Technologies $4,500 for Broadband Strategy Consulting Services.

Interim Yates County Administrator Winona Flynn says the county legislature has full intentions of helping residents gain access to reliable high speed internet service.

The effort will be focused on finding a company to partner with the county to apply for financing through the newly developed USDA ReConnect Program using ECC Technologies’ technology data and expertise. ECC representatives will explore high-level broadband deployment models and determine estimated costs to provide high capacity, reliable broadband services to residents.

According to literature provided by the USDA, this pilot program will generate private sector investment to deploy broadband infrastructure to provide high-speed internet e-Connectivity to as many rural premises as possible, including homes, community facilities for healthcare and public safety, schools, libraries, farms, ranches, factories, and more.

All of Yates County meets the eligibility criteria for population and its rural nature. At least 90 percent of households in the proposed area  must not have sufficient access to broadband service, defined as fixed terrestrial broadband service at 10 megavits per second downstream and 1 Mbps upstream.

Funds through the ReConnect Program can be used for construction, improvement and acquisition of facilities to provide service at a minimum of 25 Mbps downstream and 3 Mbps upstream.

A total of $200 million in federal funds is available for grants, and the maximum award per project is $25 million. Another $200 million is available for the grant and loan combination. The maximum grant/loan combination award is $50 million. Another $200 million is available in the low interest loan fund.