prior_broadband120Pat PryorLegislator Pat Pryor, Chair of the County Legislature’s Special Committee on Broadband, tonight announced that New York State has awarded a $2.2 million State grant to extend high-speed Internet service to unserved and underserved areas of the County.  The award comes in response to a coordinated application filed by provider Clarity Connect, Inc. to extend high-speed broadband service to unserved communities in Tompkins and Cayuga Counties.  The award is among $25 million awarded statewide under the Connect NY Broadband Grant program.  The local award is the third highest amount awarded among 18 grants statewide.

“As Chair of the Special Committee on Broadband I’m very happy and excited to be part of the effort to bring enhanced Internet access to rural parts of Tompkins County,” Legislator Pryor stated.  “Many rural residents have stayed in touch with the committee as we’ve waited for an announcement on our application for funding and I know that the opportunity for adoption of robust broadband service will make a real difference in the lives of many residents of the County.

The project will leverage existing tower infrastructure to provide broadband services to the unserved portions of the Towns of Ulysses, Enfield, Newfield, Danby, Groton, Lansing, Ledyard, Genoa, Venice, Scipio, Niles, Sempronius, and Summerhill in Cayuga and Tompkins Counties. Existing DSL services will also be upgraded by increasing existing speeds.

“The success of our work would not have been possible without the contributions of the outstanding community volunteers who freely shared their experience and expertise with the committee.  They deserve a huge vote of thanks.  I also greatly appreciate the support of the County Legislature, County Administration and various County staff members who have contributed to the effort.  I’d like to especially note the invaluable assistance of Deputy County Administrator, Paula Younger.   She really helped to move the work ahead, especially in the early months of research and exploration.  And, of course, thanks also to our major private partner, Chuck Bartosch at Clarity Connect.  Chuck’s interest, persistence and creative problem solving have been instrumental in our success.  We are also pleased that two other private partners, Haefele TV and Finger Lakes Technologies Group, Inc. will be involved in bringing the broadband build-out to fruition.

“It will probably be some time before we can analyze the exact parameters of what is being funded.  However, it has been and remains the goal of the committee to bring high-speed broadband Internet service to every part of the County.  To the extent that we receive less than the full amount requested, the committee will begin looking at possible options to allow us to meet that goal.”

“The projects receiving these grants represent the very best proposals with the most potential to benefit statewide economic and community development efforts," said Governor Andrew Cuomo.  "These funds will strengthen New York’s broadband capacity and encourage sustainable adoption of broadband service in unserved and underserved communities, counties, and regions across the state.”

The Tompkins County Broadband Committee (now the Special Committee on Broadband) was established more than two years ago, charged to “advise the Tompkins County Legislature on how to best promote broadband technology countywide, to address the needs of unserved and underserved residents, foster public-private innovation, enhance existing capabilities, and support good governance.”