County Officials: Shoddy Broadband Services Crippling Remote Areas

By: Shawn Magrath

County officials: Shoddy broadband services crippling remote areas A Frontier Communications lineman makes phone and internet cable repairs in Chenango County. (Evening Sun file photo)

NORWICH – Chenango County officials are taking up the burden of enhancing broadband internet in remote parts of the county, a move they say will change area commerce, education, and government for the better.

The issue was slated for discussion at a recent meeting of the county’s planning and economic development committee. Committee members contend that a lack of reliable broadband service has become a handicap to local municipalities, including county government.

Moreover, it’s impeding on the functionality of local courts, businesses, human services, and schools.

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“There's (state and federal) funding available to improve our community, but it’s the squeaky wheel thing,” said Columbus Town Supervisor Tom Grace, who’s spearheading the broadband issue at the county level. “We have to squeak to get some of that money.”

Grace pitched an idea to the Chenango County Planning Committee to reap available funding during their June monthly meeting. His plan calls for detailed record keeping of how shoddy broadband service hinders departmental duties at the county, including emergency and social services, health services, legal services, finance, and DPW.

Keeping record of how poor internet effects county obligations, Grace said, would give clout to the county’s plea to the state and federal government for money to broaden broadband.

“I’ve been told by department heads that they’re having difficulty delivering services remotely,” said Grace. “So what I think we would do is ask each department head to just send us a brief description of what they’re facing and what they think would actually help the situation. We could document, department by department, how substandard internet is affecting their performance and delivery of services to their clients.”

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