The Journal Register (Medina, NY)

Local News

August 30, 2013

County continues broadband push

Medina Journal-Register — ALBION — A broadband bill at the state level received unanimous support by the Orleans County Legislature at its meeting Wednesday afternoon in Albion.

The bill, in the New York State Assembly, is known as the Rural Broadband Deployment Act. It “promotes rural broadband deployment by providing residents and small businesses with tax credits for broadband deployment,” according to the county resolution.

Before the county took any action on its list of resolutions Wednesday, the floor was opened to public comment relating to the pending actions. Yates resident Paul Lauricella voiced his displeasure with the broadband initiative.

“When I started my business…I only had dial-up Internet,” he recalled, noting how the need to go online was very rare at that time. Lauricella said the cost of getting anything other than a dial-up Internet connection was exorbitant, but he said, “I never thought about going to the government.”

Lauricella said rather than having taxpayers foot the bill for businesses to use the Internet, the business should pay for it.

Former Orleans County Technology Director Charles Kinsey spoke for the initiative. Referencing discussions about the initiative’s impact in Orleans County, Kinsey said, “It has been proven that areas with investments in Internet have had tremendous growth economically.”

Kinsey added that Orleans County should be on board with the broadband bill as a way of further embracing modern technology, saying the area should fully integrate itself into the 21st century.

According to the resolution, Orleans County has significant areas “without access to high speed broadband services because of geographic isolation, topographic conditions, and low population density.” Broadband providers have not found it to be cost-efficient to provide services to some of those remote areas.

The passage of the bill, the resolution read, “would allow for residents municipalities, and small businesses in un-served areas to come together, pool their economic power, and select a broadband provider to deploy services to their area.”

By deploying services, “any eligible out of pocket expenses the resident, municipalities, or small business incurs for the construction of the network would be eligible for a 100 percent refundable tax credit over five years.”

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