North Country town leaders ask: When will we have high-speed Internet?
As state budget negotiations continue, one of the proposals that hang in the balance is a plan to bring more Internet access to rural areas of the state.
A majority of homes and businesses in the North Country don’t have access to high-speed Internet. Gov.Andrew Cuomo has pledged to change that by connecting every New Yorker to the Internet by 2019.
Government officials from across the region gathered at Jefferson Community College in Watertown Thursday looking for more information on Cuomo’s New New York Broadband Program.
Liona Chereshnoski, the director of the public library in Osceola, constantly sees the need for families to have internet access.
“I have students who come to my library every week to use the Internet for something and they don’t have computers at home or they don’t have service at home,” she said.
David Salway, director of the Broadband Program, explained to town leaders, mostly from the Tug Hill, that the new initiative will pay Internet companies to expand their services to homes and businesses in remote areas.
“Those are the cases where there might be five houses at the end of a road outside of a town. The town is easy to serve because there are enough customers to provide service based on the amount they will recoup but the more remote areas are expensive to serve so they couldn’t deploy out," he said.
Salway said the plan is still being developed and hinges on approval of the plan in the final budget.