HOLLAND PATENT, N.Y. - Rep. Anthony Brindisi's 'Brindisi at your Business' initiative brought him to Northland Communications in Holland Patent Friday morning.
"I get to hear from local businesses, talk about things that are happening in Washington, how policy down there can maybe help local businesses, but it’s also a chance to highlight a great family-owned company that’s been doing great work in Oneida County for many, many years, especially on an issue that’s so important to the 22nd Congressional District, and that’s to expand broadband in the under served communities."
Brindisi says he was happy to hear from Northland Communications President Jim McCarthy about Northland's current project of bringing high speed broadband service to 700 more rural homes.
McCarthy says this project wouldn't be possible without the help of a grant from The New York State Broadband Program Office. "We were fortunate to receive $3.2 million in funding from the Broadband Program Office to help support a $6 million project. We’re building a true 'fiber to the home network', so it’ll be really gigabit capable. A majority of our customers that are on it choose 100 Mb but we try to build our networks to be future-proof and provide gigabit type speeds to our customers, when they need us it's truly there."
McCarthy says the project to bring high speed broadband to more homes is a two phase project, "The cable you see on the polls, some of it's buried, so there's really two pieces of it, the initial build the distribution of the network that we completed in December 2018 and we have an additional two years to make all the connections from the pole into our customer's homes."
McCarthy says there are two great points to the state grant program for broadband, "We didn’t receive a check for 3.2 million, we spend the money and get reimbursed on a quarterly basis, which is really the way the program should be done. You hear about programs where the money was spent and the companies receive the money and the program didn’t happen. W actually have to spend the money and hit certain thresholds in order to be eligible to be reimbursed."
Secondly, McCarthy says the The New York State Broadband Program Office will send out auditors once the project is complete to make sure the works has been done, "To verify what we said we did, was actually delivered to our customers."
Brindisi says he is pleased that New York State has such a program in place and he also wants to remind people to take part in his broadband survey.
He announced in November that he wanted to hear from his rural constituents about their broadband service, or lack of it, and he says so far, about 1,000 people have responded.
Since November, residents of the 22nd Congressional District could get on to Brindisi's website and take part in a broadband survey. You can do so at: https://brindisi.house.gov/internet
The survey asks whether you have internet service in your home and if you do, to rate that service.
Brindisi says he wants to hear from as many more constituents as possible, "We talked to the FCC and that was really a suggestion from one of the commissioners, to really do our own mapping across the district because the maps that the FCC has are not really good so we felt that we would take matters into our own hands and do a broadband mapping survey because so many grants are handed out by the federal government to expand broadband and we want to make sure that the money is going into places that need it the most, and certainly this district is one that’s very under served when it comes to broadband capability."
There is no deadline date set as to when constituents have to fill out the survey by, but it is expected to be closed sometime later this year.
Brindisi says he wants to get as much data as possible, "We’ve gotten over 1,000 responses so far from throughout the district. People are going onto our website and have taken the speed test which we have provided and we’re encouraging more people to go on to do that so we can get an accurate representation of what the speeds are throughout the district, where the gaps in coverage are, and present those maps to the FCC so we can talk about how we can expand broadband into the 22nd district."