Niagara Gazette

Local News

October 13, 2012

Rural broadband survey funds sought


Niagara Gazette — ”We found that there are a lot of unserved properties,” Tupis said.

The problem, Napoli said, is that the broadband access map used to determine areas in need of infrastructure funding to improve internet access showed different, “flawed” data. It uses census block data, but lists an entire block as broadband ready if only one parcel within it has access. As a result, Orleans County is considered to be 97 percent covered by broadband.

Tupis said their solution would be similar to the process for installing a water district in a rural area. Residents would be polled to see if they have access to broadband internet and to find out if they would be interested in the service if it was available.

”We’d like to do a study first so that we can go to private companies with what we have and don’t have, and ask what they can do for us,” Napoli said. “Niagara and Genesee are in the same position ... it’s so spread out that the companies aren’t interested.”

The group of local officials will meet with State Sen. George Maziarz later this month. Maziarz said that while he hasn’t given up on the Connect NY funding, there are other areas of the state budget that could fund the survey.

”There are areas in the state budget that could be accessed — economic and technology funds,” Maziarz said. “I see this as an economic develop tool ... it’s imperative that this takes place.”

Contact reporter Jim Krencik at 798-1400, ext. 6327.

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