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City of Syracuse coming up with plan for broadband improvement

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Bret Jaspers
/
WSKG News file photo

The city of Syracuse is moving ahead with a strategy to improve access to broadband for businesses and residents.  

The problem is there aren’t enough affordable, high speed internet broadband options for residents or businesses in Syracuse. And that means that Syracuse isn’t competing on a level playing field with other cities when it comes to economic development, says Ben Walsh, Syracuse’s deputy commissioner of neighborhoods and business development.

“Really, this is about keeping up with the Joneses. This is about competing. If we can do it better, faster and cheaper than everybody else, great. That’s what we’re going to try to do," said Walsh.

       

Some of the options the city has would be creating its own fiber optic network, or partnering with current providers.

“We have engaged in conversations with Time Warner, with Verizon,” said Walsh. “We want to figure out what works best for the community.  And that may or may not mean the city is leading the way.”

A consulting firm is currently undertaking a survey to see what would be the best way for the city to go.  

Once results are in by the end of summer, Walsh says the city will develop a business plan, and then look for funding, with an eye toward a state pot of money earmarked for broadband expansion. 

"We want to make sure we are competitive for that funding. And in order to do that, we want to make sure we’ve developed all the appropriate data and we have a business plan. So that’s what we’re doing right now, and by doing that we expect to be very competitive," Walsh said.

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner has also this week joined 30 other mayors that are part of the Next Century Coalition, asking the FCC to allow more access to data that measures broadband networks.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.