LOWVILLE — The Lewis County Board of Legislators will be the first to receive the results of the broadband study done through the Development Authority of the North Country before its regular board meeting on Tuesday.
The 4 p.m. presentation by the DANC team will walk legislators and the viewing public through the fairly technical study.
“This isn’t like (the JCC community survey) presentation where there are easily understandable questions and answers resulting in percentages of respondents,” said County Manager Ryan Piche. “This study goes deeper into specialized information.”
While a survey of Lewis County residents’ experience with broadband and the internet services available to them was part of the study, a comprehensive “inventory” of the infrastructure that exists, the holes causing limited availability of fast internet service and an analysis of what it would take to make truly high speed internet available to the entire county are all part of the detail-oriented analysis.
As part of the survey, DANC also asked residents and businesses how much they would be willing to pay for fast, reliable broadband.
The authority owns and operates a telecommunications network providing high-speed fiber optic internet to municipalities, businesses, hospitals and schools throughout the tri-county area and will use the information gathered through this project to expand that network and apply for grants, Laurie Marr, director of communications for the Authority, said.
“The real value is actually taking all the data that we’re putting together and putting it into GIS format so that you can... see where the fiber optic infrastructure is and where the individuals who completed the survey (are). It’s actually pretty neat,” said DANC Executive Director Carl Farone during an update presentation on the project in December.
With the information garnered from the survey and mapping exercises, the county and DANC will work together to determine the next steps needed to ensure fiber-level broadband is available throughout the county.
At this time, satellite service provided by companies like Hughes Net satisfied the state’s “Broadband for All” 25 mbps per minute upload speed minimum, however schooling and working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic has made apparent that such a slow speed is not sufficient for today’s online needs.
Penfield-based ECC Technologies was contracted to perform the broadband study for the authority and were instrumental in helping the authority create its telecommunications network.
The total cost of the project was $62,000 shared between the county and the authority. Lewis County legislators approved the county’s $31,000 expenditure in their September board meeting.
Lewis County was the first in the north country to embrace this survey opportunity.
Projects in Jefferson and St. Lawrence counties are ongoing.
The presentation will be streamed live on the Lewis County YouTube channel along with the following board meeting.