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Building Networks: Broadband-for-All

 

In early October, Dave Wolff represented AdkAction’s Broadband-for-All project at a roundtable to discuss broadband challenges in the North Country with State Senators Sean Ryan and Dan Stec and Assemblymembers Nily Rozic and Billy Jones, together with local legislators and stakeholders. Each panelist shared a unique perspective on the necessity and scarcity of high-speed internet in the region, and the complex issues surrounding the problem. There was unanimous agreement that broadband accessibility is critical to all New York State residents.

Expanding Human Networks
Extending cable or fiber connections to each address in the North Country requires collaboration and buy-in across a broad and expanding network of stakeholders working to achieve universal access to broadband. AdkAction’s Dave Wolff has hosted a monthly call for over ten years, to share information with and between over 150 people from across the North Country (providers, town officials, interested citizens, etc.), as well as representatives of state and federal broadband-related agencies.

“There is power in developed relationships, and collaboration is crucial,” says Wolff of the need to keep lines of communication open between all stakeholders. As a neutral party in the world of broadband, AdkAction is positioned to encourage and facilitate this valuable collaboration.

For example, this year our monthly broadband forum sparked the creation of the North Country Broadband Alliance, a coalition of six counties in the region. Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Hamilton, Warren, and Washington counties are sharing information through the alliance to reach a shared goal of 100 @ 100: 100% of the households and businesses in the North Country having access to at least 100 Mbps download speed. Even better, the counties of the alliance have been able to jointly apply to a broadband grant program from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) for the North Country Broadband Deployment Program.

 

Addressing Challenges to Broadband Expansion in Rural NY
The North Country’s low population density often makes it uneconomical for providers to self-fund the capital required for network expansion. Therefore, government funding of broadband infrastructure is required in many areas of the North Country.

However, even while providing incentives for capital investment, the broadband-related fees and taxes assessed by NYS, such as those imposed on the installation of fiber in the State’s Right-of-Way, disproportionately impact rural areas and make it very difficult for providers to operate a network at a profit in the more rural areas where broadband accessibility is needed most. We are utilizing our network of stakeholders to work with our legislators to reduce or eliminate the taxes and fees that are inhibiting our ability to reach 100 @ 100 in the North Country.

 

 

Learn more about our Broadband-for-All project.

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