Home » Community Networks »Public Policy & Gov't »Rural Broadband »Video » Currently Reading:

New York’s Southern Tier Closer to Securing High Speed Broadband for Rural Residents

Phillip Dampier June 30, 2010 Community Networks, Public Policy & Gov't, Rural Broadband, Video No Comments

A $24 million federal grant proposal to install 600 miles of fiber optic cable across the southern tier of New York has advanced to the “Due Diligence Phase” of federal review, making it a serious contender for approval.

The application for the “middle mile” project was submitted jointly by the Southern Tier East and Southern Tier Central Planning Development Boards to create a fiber-based backbone to facilitate so-called “last mile” projects which deliver connections directly to consumers and businesses.  If built, the project will make connectivity available to all-comers, from wireless providers trying to reach the most rural homes to cable and telephone-based broadband providers delivering enhanced speeds and service.

The Shequaga Falls, visible from W. Main Street in Montour Falls, exemplifies the terrain of many Southern Tier communities in New York.

Broome, Delaware, Otsego, Chemung, Steuben and Schuyler counties would be served by the fiber network if constructed.

The southern tier of New York, mostly defined as west to Lake Erie and east to Binghamton, is particularly lacking in broadband, in part because of very difficult terrain.  Steep sloping hills rising 1,000 feet or more, created from glacial movements, combine with level hilltops representative of the Appalachian Plateau.  In most of these areas, fields and pastures crown the high points while cropland and communities locate on the level valley floor.  Getting broadband to residents and farms involves winding cables around the hills through communities like Bath, Corning, Elmira, Hornell, Watkins Glen-Montour Falls, and Wayland.  Even larger communities like Binghamton and Ithaca have plenty of landscape to navigate.

Inside immediate town and city centers, broadband is usually provided by Time Warner Cable, Frontier Communications, Verizon, or one of several independent phone companies.  Where 30mph speed limits predominate, broadband is likely available.  Once the speed limit returns to 55mph, service becomes more spotty.

Prior efforts to expand broadband availability included:

  • Public/Private Partnerships: Cooperative efforts to ease the way for private providers to extend service into previously unserved areas.  This had limited success, particularly when sufficient return on investment could not be achieved within a set time frame.  Most private providers will not wire sparsely populated areas because of the time it takes to recoup wiring and pole costs.
  • Aggregation of Demand: This technical-sounding term simply means bringing neighbors together and getting them to jointly commit to sign up for broadband service if a provider will agree to extend service to their neighborhood.  This can achieve success in areas where a provider is assured of getting his initial investment back.  A few of these efforts have even shared or split the financing of some construction costs.  Mike McNamara of Haefele Cable Television, an independent cable provider serving 4,700 residents in rural sections of Tioga County, noted “last mile” access can be expensive, costing about $12,000 for them to extend cable service per mile.

The blue color represents areas in this section of the Southern Tier where no broadband service is available. (click to enlarge)

A decision on the grant is expected by September.

[flv]http://www.phillipdampier.com/video/WETM Elmira One Step Closer to High Speed Broadband Access 6-24-10.flv[/flv]

WETM-TV in Elmira explains the plan to expand broadband service throughout the Southern Tier of New York, if a grant can be awarded.  (1 minute)

Search This Site:

Contributions:

Recent Comments:

  • john doe: The market is kind of saturated. Whoever wanted internet have already subscribed to Comcast/Charter. Beside this Verizon strategy is doomed to failure...
  • Coin: While its possible the connections are being throttled, I think its more likely that the cell network is overwhelmed. I live in a hurricane prone are...
  • Dylan: Just isn’t that nice? I would drop them quickly if they told me that my plan was too “low” and I needed to upgrade and pay more for better service. Wh...
  • Dan: Nice job Verizon first throttle first responders then hurricane victims. Fcc step in oh wait. Ajuit pia is worse than useless he is anti consumer....
  • LG: I didn't hear these speeches, and really don't know if what he said was incendiary or hateful, but I do know the left-wing media cannot be trusted to ...
  • Dylan: 20gigs? Abysmal. I would use that in a couple of hours. Even 50. I’m certainly fortunate to have unlimited internet with Spectrum....
  • EJ: I wonder if they are going to extend service based on demand. That system is used by many telecommunication companies that are coming into a new area ...
  • Phillip Dampier: Just to clarify, I think they are throwing in a free or discounted dish, which isn't such a big deal if you can find a promotion that does the same. I...
  • EJ: Well I guess I should of scrolled down first lol. Question answered by the Verizon article. Good job Phillip. Note to self scroll down a few articles ...
  • EJ: My question is what exactly is HughNet doing with the money? They already offer free installation in most areas so what is this money going towards? A...
  • Mark Wilkinson: This is a nightmare. Life was good until Verizon sold us to Frontier. Our service has been cut off twice for non-payment of an "non-returned equipme...
  • Don: I don't even have Greenlight available yet at my address. I am in Gates and Greenlight is taking orders for my address so I look up to see what would ...

Your Account: