The Development Authority of the North Country continues to work with municipal governments to broaden its understanding of how well people are being served when it comes to broadband internet.
Members of the Jefferson County Board of Legislators voted unanimously during their Nov. 10 meeting to collaborate with DANC on a project to map out the infrastructure of broadband internet. This will provide an overview of which areas of the county have good access and which ones do not. This will pinpoint where services need to be improved.
“DANC is contracting with ECC Technologies, a telecommunications engineering company in Penfield, Monroe County, to map out which addresses in the county have access to broadband internet. Teams will physically trace and map infrastructure along the roadside, and an online survey will be made available for county residents to report how they access the internet, how they use it and how fast their connection speeds are,” according to a story published Nov. 16 by the Watertown Daily Times. “That data will then be made available for county leadership to use as they plan infrastructure projects and targeted expansions with the goal of expanding internet access across the region. During their Nov. 10 board meeting, Jefferson County legislators voted unanimously to begin the study. The county will pay $33,500 — half of the $67,000 project — which will run until August 2021. As more north country residents have been working or learning from home as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Jefferson County Board of Legislators Chairman Scott A. Gray said internet access has become integral to many people’s daily lives. … Mr. Gray said the Jefferson County mapping project is part of a regional push for more information on what work needs to be done to expand reliable, high-speed internet access.”
DANC formed a similar partnership earlier this month with Lewis County. This will help New York officials advance their goal of expanding broadband internet to all regions of the state.
Through the New NY Broadband Program established in 2015, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said that more than 99 percent of state residents would have access to high-speed internet. The initiative launched with a $500 million investment. A substantial number of New Yorkers have been provided access to high-speed internet over the past five years, according to the website for the state Broadband Program Office.
But the drive to expand internet access has been hampered with some significant problems. One has been the failure of some vendors to complete the work they pledged to carry out. Another is the stifling fee imposed by the state upon fiber optic cable companies to build lines in state-controlled rights of way.
This mapping endeavor will highlight where broadband internet access is poor. When installers initiate projects to expand the infrastructure, they’ll have a better idea of where to focus to ensure everyone has good service.
And this is critical, particularly during the novel coronavirus pandemic. Most families need sufficient access to either work or receive academic instructions remotely. Some people also must consult medical personnel online, so it’s never been more important to make sure their communities are linked to the system.
St. Lawrence County is considering joining DANC on this project as well, and its participation would enhance our vision of which areas need better service. We encourage public officials throughout the north country to jump on board.
Website of source