The Journal Register (Medina, NY)

Local News

June 27, 2012

High speedmoves forward

Medina Journal-Register — The push to bring improved broadband access to rural areas in Orleans counties is gaining momentum and support, the men who kick started the effort said Tuesday.

The Niagara-Orleans Regional Alliance Inclusive Internet Initiative is now prepared to pursue grant funding to better study the penetration of modern, high-speed internet in areas that officials say are inaccurately considered to have nearly complete coverage. NORA will apply for state grant funding through the consolidated funding application process, which means the request must be in by July 16. 

“We’ve come a long way in the past five months,” Ridgeway Supervisor Brian Napoli told the the monthly meeting of the Orleans County Supervisors/Legislators Association, held Tuesday in Childs at Tillman’s Village Inn.

Napoli and retired telecommunications and information technology professional Evhen Tupis have worked for more than three years to address the issue. Tupis says the signs that their effort is taking hold are seen in both local governments and on the road.

He recently drove through towns in both counties to see how many homes were not served by broadband and found more than 200 in Barre and more than 600 in Wilson; and then he found a TIme Warner Cable van doing the same type of information gathering shortly after.

“We’re getting the attention we deserve,” Tupis said.

Tupis said the current FCC map shows 97 percent of the two-county area as receiving broadband internet, an inaccurate measurement due to the out-of-focus view that is taken by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.

“They aggregate data and don’t use address points,” Tupis explained. “If there’s one house in a census block with service they mark the entire block as having service. The need is great. The smaller an area you look at the greater the detail you get.”

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